Divine Wisdom - Brotherhood - Occult Science
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Vol. XXVI., No. 4 Hamilton, June 15th, 1945 Price 20 Cents
THE COMMUNION OF THE SAINTS
By the Editor
Church of England people who attend church regularly declare their belief constantly in the Communion of the Saints but if you ask them to explain what they mean by it they will probably refer you to their rector, or to the curate if you are not socially prominent. Any such reference is not likely to bring much light, if indeed you are not reproved for an exhibition of morbid curiosity.
The saints according to the New Testament are full members of the Church who have made some progress in acquiring the Christian virtues, and perhaps in developing some of the gifts or powers enumerated by St. Paul in I Corinthians xii. New Testament Christianity implies in those who profess it some degree of communion or relationship with what is technically known as the Holy Ghost, which is really the Christos consciousness, recognized by some as intuition, but more definitely available than what is known by this term, and actually and reliably useful to speakers and writers. Jesus warned his apostles not to worry about what they should say as the Holy Ghost would supply them with words. A Roman Catholic preacher recently said that the promptings of the Holy Ghost did not interfere with the free will of the person affected, who could use his judgment in selecting or rejecting what came to him. It thus depends upon the sensitiveness and the intelligence of the speaker or writer how he will interpret or present what he is given. To put it in another way the consciousness of the Holy Ghost is an extension of the ordinary consciousness to a higher or deeper level than that on which the ordinary mind functions.
It will be understood, then, that like all our consciousness, it is from within that we gain access to it. Heaven is a most deceiving word for the ordinary man, for he thinks of it as a place or sphere away off in space somewhere, while it is always with him, within. Jesus is reported to have said that the Kingdom of heaven is within you. "Inside you," is the meaning of the Greek word entos. St. Paul says - "Jesus Christ is in you." (II Cor. xiii. 5). For the mysteries of life and their solution we must look within.
The Church has constantly drilled its members from childhood onwards to think of "Heaven", as up in the sky away off in space somewhere instead of in their own hearts and consciousness. Hence the difficulty of understanding as St. John tells us that God is Love,
God is Light, God is Spirit, that is, Life or Breath. If these principles are within us they may be identified and become familiar. We know what Love is, but how often do we think of it as God? We know what Life is, but do we make a rule of thinking that we share it with God? So also with Light, which is intelligence or knowledge or recognition in its various forms.
When we lose our friends in what we call death we should not associate them with their dead bodies or the graveyard. "He is not here; he is risen," is a lucid instruction. If instead of meditating among the tombs, like so many, we resolved before we slept each night, to prepare ourselves for communion with the saints, our dear ones, our "lost" ones, our spiritual pastors and Masters, how joyfully we would arise every morning with hearts full of blessing, with minds enriched and solaced and strengthened with the thoughts, even the words, and with that strange and happy awareness, not of the "coming", but of the "presence" of the blessed Ones of the Kingdom.
THE MYSTIC LIGHT
Occultism is not regarded as a science because it is not based upon exact observation nor upon classification of facts. The methods of science came into the world later than those of occultism, the science of astronomy, for instance, had its origin in astrology, which, it is said, has been known for 50,000 years, chemistry began with alchemy, the science of pathology originated in the examination of the entrails of animals slain for sacrifice on the altars of religion.
Whereas occultism is based upon deduction, and intuition. Therefore, there are mysteries in occult philosophy which science cannot solve, but to the earnest student there are given keys with which to unlock the mysteries. A key, of course, is useless unless one knows how to use it. All branches of the arts are insoluble mysteries to one who approaches them for the first time, music, for instance, is a closed door for him who has never done more than listen; he must begin at the beginning and work hard before he can play even a simple tune. In the same way, one has to develop the rudiments of occult sensibility before one can grasp its secrets. People unaccustomed to such a term as "Invisible Light" do not understand how light can be visible.
Modern science can, however, help us to realize this. It tells us that the scale of vibrations known as light comprise 86 octaves, a way of putting it by which we can come nearer to grasping the enormous compass it covers. We may think of it as the octaves of a piano 20 yards long. Of these 86 octaves only one octave reaches our senses, any vibration above or below this limit we cannot contact because our senses are not made to receive them. I here represent the statement made by Sir Kenneth Mackenzie with regard to vibrations.
"The whole range of atmospheric vibrations which the human ear can grasp and transmit to the brain as sound is comprised between 32 to the second, the lowest audible, and 40,000, the highest audible, and a very restricted scale it is, far inferior to that of many other creatures. The highest musical sound a human being can hear is under 5,000 per second, but dog whistles are made which when blown are inaudible to the person blowing them, but easily heard by a dog at a distance.
"Where atmospheric sound vibrations cease, electrical (etheric) waves begin, and as such they end at about thirty-four thousand three hundred and sixty millions per second - 34,360,000,000. When the ether vibrations increase to thirty-five billions - 35,000,000,000,000 per second, they become visible to us as
light. Although the term electricity is used, it does not include that form of it known as the Herzian waves, or the vibrations called `the wireless', which do not come into being until the vibrations reach the incomprehensible rapidity of over two hundred and eighty-eight thousand billions per second, which are hourly received by millions of people in their wireless receiving sets. It is the function of the little crystals and electric lamp valves to reduce these inconceivable vibrations into the low-frequency vibration of between 32 and 40,000 per second, so that they can be heard as sound or speech.
"All `waves' or vibrations of the ether, no matter what their frequency may be, travel at exactly the same rate as that of light, or 186,000 miles per second."
Sir Kenneth then points out the similarity of the laws of radio and those of materialization - both are better produced in the dark, and both require a medium to reduce the high frequency to low frequency, in the one case a human transmitter and in the other the valves.
The 86 octaves do not include these high frequency vibrations, but the senses of sight and hearing obey the same law - we see and hear but one single octave out of the 86, above and below that range light is too brilliant to be seen and below it too dark.
The light rays below the Visible Light are called infrared rays, and that they really exist is proved by the fact that photographs can be taken by means of infra-red rays without the knowledge of the people who are being photographed. It serves to produce photographs of discarnate spirits, taken in complete darkness, and also pictures through the walls of a house or room, without it being known to persons so photographed.
These rays, invisible to us (the infra-red) are visible to some forms of primitive life, such as worms, which have no eyes. Nature spirits, too are susceptible to them. A scientist who lectured at the Bristol Lodge a while ago, told how bees, who have no eyes either, but only dark spots believed by us to be such, are attracted to flowers of certain colors, and can find their way to them through foliage. Are they, too, able to see light rays invisible to us?
There are, as we all know, invisible rays above or beyond the scale of visible light, called ultra violet rays, to the lower of which belong the X Rays. The whole system of X Rays is based upon the great Cosmic Law of the complementary opposites, or positive and negative, shown by the little red and green lights upon which the whole depends. The ancients were well acquainted with this great underlying Law of Creation, as they were of most branches of knowledge thought to be especially the discoveries of modern science.
The very latest of the Cosmic Rays to be discovered will pass, not merely through human flesh, but through sixteen feet of lead as if it were plain glass. The development expected by scientists of these marvellous Rays will, it is said, change the whole outlook of civilized life.
The visibility of light to us is due to a connection - to a rapport, as the spiritualists say - between the rapidity of a minute fraction of the 86 octaves about which we have been talking, and the capacity of our sight organ to receive it. If light is invisible it means that it is either above or below the sensitiveness of our eyes to contact it, but a simple photographic film can seize it. So we begin to understand that under certain conditions, when, for instance, a man's etheric double, or his astral make-up, or that of his mental body, gets the upper hand, his physical body being for the time in abeyance, his still more subtle
bodies are enabled to receive vibrations otherwise out of his range. And exactly the same thing happens in all the other senses, in hearing, touch, taste and smell. It is caused by the raising or lowering of the rates of vibrations in the subtle bodies, called by scientists "super-sensorial perception", a subject now studied in some medical colleges as part of psychology.
The occult key to these teachings, given out by the ancients long ages before they reached the brains of modern scientists, is that the "Invisible Light" has nothing to do with physical vision, it is Light from the Higher Planes, Light of which the everlasting light of the Synagogues and the Roman and High Anglican Churches is the symbol, called in the Israelite Doctrine the AIN SOPH AUR :-
AIN - NO, NOTHING.
SOPH - LIMIT, END LIGHT UNLIMITED, WITHOUT END
AUR - LIGHT.
According to the Kabalah, this Cosmic Light consists of 343 groups of Rays, a number traditionally linked with the hypothesis of the 343 Universes - "seven times seven times seven", the Septenary multiplied by the Triad Three plus four plus three is ten, and one and nought is one again - symbol of the Unity of the Cosmos.
Some time ago Dr. Tudor Jones, in a lecture on philosophers, quoted this passage from the unknown works of Suidas, a very ancient teacher in early Greece:
"Intellectual Light was Light Intellectual, Mind of Mind was there, Light-giving. There was nought else except this Mind, the Spirit all embracing."
This seems to have been developed from the Creative Point of Light we have heard about before. The nearest approach granted to humanity of this Cosmic Light and its developments is the wonderful experience called "Cosmic
Consciousness", though some believe that full Cosmic Consciousness is never realized by humanity, unless it be by the Christ or the Buddha or other great souls on earth. The experience is perhaps due to a reflection of the Resplendent Light, a dilution, as it were, and really belongs to the Astral Planes. For the Cosmic Light consists of several octaves, several layers, as it were, of which the lower may be caught by astral vision.
The Rays of Cosmic Light as regards this world and humanity, are symbolized in the Jewish Church by the Seven-branched Candlestick of Solomon's Temple, called the Manoroh. The Talmud mentioned one only, made in the time of Moses. It was of pure gold, on its branches were seven Lamps, refilled and attended to every day - "The Lamps, like the Planets, receive their Light from the Sun." They symbolized the Seven Heavens, guided by the Light of God, and on the material plane the Seven Continents, the seven days of the week, the middle branch, higher than the rest representing the Sabbath. It also refers to the Seven Days of Creation.
Hargrave Jennings says that the Divine Light becomes less and less as it descends from the highest planes to the earth, but that every object contains a certain deposit of light which is always fighting upward to join the true radiance. In Pistis Sophia it tells how the Christ during His descent to earth, lost some of His Spiritual Power in each plane through which he passed. He is supposed to have come from the Seventh Heaven, the highest of the Heavens symbolized by the Candlestick, the most exalted of the Hekalos, the Heavenly Halls seen by the great initiates of ancient Israel in their meditations and visions. This supernormal sight is in Hebrew TZOPHOH, spiritual seeing, the name of one of the great Archangels
"TZOPHQUIEL" - he who beholds God - is from the same root.
The Maternal Creative Power, the "Spouse of God", is said in the Kabala to be symbolized by the color black, wherein shines a light. Science is research into the secrets of Nature, which are the secrets of the Most High, recognized as such by those who can perceive them. A scientist has lately been showing that photography proves the existence of light in darkness, for by means of a new process it has been discovered that a jet black film shows vast numbers of sparks of light within the blackness. It is strange how the knowledge of the ancients is coming to the fore with astonishing results.
God, according to the Kabalah, started Creation by making a point of light, which increasing and spreading, made all things in the Universe. "The Light shineth in Darkness and the Darkness comprehendeth it not." As above, so below - by the Light which lighteth every man who cometh into the world we can begin to comprehend the Divine Light of the Spirit as shining within us - very dimly, it is true. All we can do is to keep clean and pure the matter of our "crystal body," as the great German Manfred Kyber says, so that we may get glimpses of the great light which never shone over land and sea.
A very interesting form of light, belonging, no doubt, to the material plane, is the Zodiacal Light. In a present day French scientific Journal is the following passage: -
"It is not correct to regard the Zodiacal Light as an extension of the Corona of the Sun, because it does not share in the changes of height and other variations of that Corona, which are fantastically changeful. Astronomers are not interested because it can be seen better by the naked eye than through the telescope. Its light, though feeble, is of great extent, being a cone of light taking up about 20 or 30 degrees of the horizon, and rising to about 45 degrees of altitude. On clear moonless nights it can be seen towards the west after the sun has set, and in the east before its rising. Near to the horizon, its luminosity is about that of the Milky Way, in color a yellowish green.
"The cause of this phenomenon is not known. Astronomers believe it to be a collection of minute particles moving around the sun in orbits, their size being no more than a kilometre apart (a kilometre is five eighths of a mile). The Zodiacal Light is, according to this theory, a fog lighted up by the Sun."
A form of astral light is sometimes seen by invalids and the dying as a pale blaze of light lying on the bed, sometimes taking shape as angels and flowers, or symbols, sometimes merely a sheet of white light. The cause is unknown. Perhaps it is the Divine Light passing out of the material form to join the Glory of the Heaven World. That these matters are still uncomprehended is a reproach to humanity. Only by developing our intuition of the Divine can we begin to understand that Divine Light is within each one of us, and that our work is to make it shine through the Darkness. We cannot understand God, but we can understand His Attributes, such as Love, Wisdom, Justice, Mercy, Righteousness and Beauty, and by striving to develop them, by absorbing and giving them out again, we can let in upon ourselves the Glory of the Cosmic Light.
- Olive Harcourt.
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N. W. J. HAYDON, 564 PAPE AVE., TORONTO
A NEW WORLD BEING BORN
On taking over the office of General Secretary of the National Society of the T.S. in Canada from one who has held it with such distinction for more than twenty-five years, I naturally feel a certain diffidence, especially since after all I am but a tyro in the work.
With the exception of the Lodge to which I belong, and to the Hamilton Lodge which I have often addressed, few know me beyond the fact that they have perused the articles from my pen which have appeared in The Canadian Theosophist; and the knowledge that I was editor of the Supplement issued to commemorate Mr. Smythe's "Sixty Years of Theosophy." By these things I have been more or less judged and I fully appreciate the confidence that has been reposed in me.
To state that I will carry out my duties to the best of my ability would be trite, but as a military man and one who has the tenets of theosophy deeply at heart, I would simply state that everything I have will be devoted to the purpose in hand.
Mr. Smythe has been my valued friend and monitor for many years and I have the deepest admiration for his sterling character and brilliant intellectuality, and if I can be of any help to him now that he is devoting all his time and energies to his beloved work as editor of our magazine I will do my best to lighten his task.
Those who have elected me to the position I now hold will no doubt be looking for a word as to my stand on Theosophy. I would say that I am a follower of the Blavatsky tradition, having definitely returned to her teachings after delving into devious bypaths and alluring will-o-the-wisps.
Further, I consider the first object of our Society so fundamental and imperative that unless it is realized and practised to its fullest extent all else is futile. That object with its manifold implications is indigenous to all who call themselves Theosophists and to "live" it is a sine-que-non. If we do not, we are but a name, just another label, of no more consequence and of no more value.
In that object, especially in such a transitory world as ours, is everything
[[Photo here: OUR NEW GENERAL SECRETARY LT.-COL. EDWARD L. THOMSON, D.S.O. Elected by Acclamation.]]
that the heart of man can desire and in its fructification is the direct way to that advancement of the soul which every true theosophist has set his heart upon.
If we would live it I consider that the virtue of Toleration to be of supreme importance. Toleration! that word so glibly used and so little practised. All of us should constantly probe deep down into our hearts and search well for that elusive quality for I fear few of us will
find much evidence of its presence there - the sad spectacle of this weary war-worn world today is living proof of that. But we must do our best.
Toleration at any time is a graceful and engaging gesture and if practised assiduously will lead to vistas beyond man's wildest dreams.
I would especially like to stress this at a time like the present. A new world is being born of the "blood and tears" that have deluged humanity; phoenix-like, civilization is slowly raising her head again; let us not therefore miss the opportunity. In a solid phalanx let us march forward together under the all-comprehending banner of Theosophy.
There are many off-shoots of the Adyar tradition and many branches of theosophical tendencies that if brought together, not amalgamated - for we can agree to disagree - but united by common ties and working along lines sympathetic to the Movement and armed with mutual help and brotherly love could advance the fundamentals of our philosophy with all its implications of Brotherhood and Unity to the amelioration of the woes of mankind and eventually reach that Ultima Thule of all who aspire to the Path.
- E. L. Thomson.
By L. Furze Morrish
Relax! How often do you hear this advice? There is probably no greater need today for the public, as well as for Disciples, than the knowledge how to relax and the will-power to do it. You may say that it does not take much will-power just to flop; it takes will-power to keep on going - but at a time when confusion of mind and psycho-nervous discords have permeated practically every part of the globe, the need for something to counteract them is obvious. At the present time there is much discord. We are passing through an age of conflict when there is a complete "show-down" in all departments of life and the Brethren of the Shadow have come out openly to make a final desperate bid for world-domination before the general onward march of civilization and social development carries mankind beyond their grasp. In the midst of all this frenzied activity the only way to keep fit for everyday living is to practice everyday relaxation.
Two questions arise
(a) What is Relaxation?
(b) What is it we have to relax?
(a) Relaxation is simply cessation from activity. Activity breaks down tissue and creates strife of some sort. Relaxation is the opposite of this. It amounts to a sort of spiritual exercise. It is a kind of "yoga" suitable for the western masses, because it starts ostensibly in the physical body and nerves, or at least works through them, and that is all the average westerner accepts or understands about himself. Moreover relaxation is a safe practice and does not lead to unhealthy stimulation of vital organs or nerve-centres - in fact it leads in the opposite direction, namely towards peace, which is what humanity ardently desires, or at least professes to desire above all else just now. The point is that if one desires peace, it is necessary to start making the individual peaceful first. World-peace will follow as a natural result, because the world is made up of the individuals in it. Therefore, if we desire peace, the only way to find it is to learn relaxation.
(b) What have we to relax? The usual answer is that we have to relax our physical muscles and nerves - but it is often not realized that there is a progressive relaxation which goes beyond the physical body and leads to that form of mental relaxation in which, as the Indian Teachers put it, the "whirlpools of the mind are stilled" - in
which is heard the "Voice of the Silence". This is the relaxation more commonly known in the West as the "Peace which passeth understanding". It is simply relaxation carried to its ultimate logical conclusion.
We have to relax every particle of our bodies, and this includes the astral and mental bodies as well as the physical - until they become "mirrors" of the Spiritual Self. This is "stilling the whirlpools of the mind", so that one can, so to speak, look into a placid mirror, unruffled by desire or prejudice, and see therein a reflection of one's true Self. This is the origin of the "Narcissus" Myth. Narcissus was a Grecian youth who, seeing his own reflection in a pool, fell in love with it. How wrongly this myth has been interpreted by those who lack understanding of the truth!
There are three instruments of consciousness to be relaxed: the physical, emotional and mental bodies. Western science does not yet accept or know that there are emotional and mental bodies as well that they represent the "aura" of man. Let us examine each in turn and see how they may be relaxed for our own progress into peace.
(1) the Physical Body. This consists
i. physical muscles and organs
ii. the "etheric double" Health Aura in which our nervous energies are specialized and which science is already beginning to suspect exists!
We can all control our muscles to some extent. The artist, craftsman and technician has acquired a very great control. By his will he can force his sinews to act when they want to relax. The airman has control of muscles. It requires great coordination of mind and eye to land a plane under varying circumstances. In fact even walking needs muscular control and the small baby has to learn to do it. All this, however, is not relaxation, but the exact opposite, activity. To relax physically, instead of forcing our sinews to act, we have to force them not to act, because, owing to habits of activity, they tend to "fidget" after the pressure of the will is removed. Most people cannot sit still. They tap their feet, flip their fingers, fidget and twist their muscles, or else have to sew or read, or be talked to, to pass the time. To spend only a few minutes at intervals each day forcing our muscles to become limp and quite motionless, is to rest those muscles and derive much physical benefit.
ii. Secondly we have to practise relaxing our nerves - not the physical ligaments which have just been mentioned - but the etheric nerve-currents which flow in, around and through the physical body. These currents are governed largely by breathing and also benefit from sunlight. They are vitalized by what in the East is called "Prana", the solar life-force.
How To Relax Progressively
First recognize an intention to relax. That summons the Will. Make your muscles grow limp and then try to relax your nervous tension. People get very tense after much activity. There is much hurrying to and fro, and much worry about what to do and not to do. One soon gets at "sixes and sevens". Stop figetting when you relax. Let go all tension. Convince yourself that for so many minutes you have no need to move about. A few minutes of your spare time do not matter. If they do, then the sooner you readjust your life and outlook the better. Then try and still the currents of your etheric body by relaxing the muscles and breathing deeply and steadily, slowly and peacefully. Choose some place where the air is pure, and if possible in the sunlight. Breathe in steadily for, say, six seconds, and out again, evenly and rhythmically. While you breathe in, try and visualize a current of healthy energy pouring through
your limbs, right into your toes and fingers. After a little practice you will be able to actually feel energy tingling all through your body. As you breathe out, feel that poisons are being expelled. This is a splendid exercise to carry out in a place such as the seashore where you can lie down and relax without causing comment.
2. The Emotional, or Astral Body. Our desires and emotions express themselves as astral currents in the aura which surrounds the human being. The lower part of the astral body contains the coarser astral matter of desire, built in by our sensational appetites and thoughts about them. The upper part contains the substance of finer emotion. This Astral Body must be relaxed. Having relaxed the physical body and drawn streams of fresh energy into the Ether is Double by breathing, relax the Astral Body. Put aside all thoughts of fear, worry, excitement, resentment - all desires for personal gratification. For a little while they don't matter. Tell them they can wait! Convince yourself that there is nothing to worry about. There is a war and people are being killed. Places of historic beauty are being destroyed. Horrors of cruelty are being perpetrated. Savages are being let loose in many countries, to murder, pillage and rape. There is much uncertainty as to the future. You or your loved ones may be involved in some way in all this, and yet my advice is, Do not worry. Worry will not help. Everything possible is being done to win the war for freedom, light and progress. It is being done many years too late, but it is being done and a much better world is going to be forced on us by our belated efforts now. Those who are killed will, by the great Law of Reincarnation, be born again in probably much better circumstances, if they have earned them. If your loved ones die, you will meet them again, that is if there is real love between you. Love never dies; it is immortal and renews its forms of expression again and again when the time is suitable. So worry does no good, but much harm. Relax and send your loved ones loving thoughts. That will do them good, but worrying about them will not. Relax again. In this way you will free your astral body of the negative currents of fear. On the other hand relax your sensational excitements as well. These do not last. The thrill of sex, overwhelming while it lasts, is soon over. Passing excitements are unreal, impermanent. They do not last, whereas Peace, like Love, lasts for ever - once you have found it. Excitement is just a temporary disturbance of the peace which is always in the background, like a peaceful countryside disturbed by a truck of empty milk-cans. They rattle for a moment and then the noise passes and the peace is felt again. In any case, if you want thrills, mental thrills are much more satisfying and last longer than sensational ones. Relax the emotions - the likes and dislikes - and then pass on to deal with the mind.
3. Mental Relaxation. Emotional relaxation is about as far as the average person of today cares to go. Mental Relaxation is not easy for people of the present race, who are beginning to identify themselves with Mind. To relax the mind completely is to pass beyond the world of thought into the worlds of the Spirit. You have to stop the mind wandering from one object of desire to another. That is the first step and is part of the practice of Emotional Relaxation. The mind will resist this and you will find your thoughts straying all over the place, just as when you first consciously (i.e. while still awake) try to relax your muscles. They twitch and you can feel them trembling to tense themselves. So with the mind. When you first consciously
try to stop your thoughts wandering, they tend to twitch and wander still more. To relax mentally you have to stop thinking altogether! This is impossible for most people today, but, if you can succeed in doing it, even for an instant, you will suddenly get a rapid fleeting glimpse of Something beyond mind - your Higher Self, the source of your life and being - Something very wonderful - your own share of the Universal Spirit. With practice these glimpses get longer and clearer until at last you know how to relax completely and to "rest in the Eternal" as it is said. "There is a peace which passes understanding: it abides in the heart of those who live in the Eternal".
However, that may be going too far for many people. It may appear a vague and impractical ideal today. In the meantime practise physical and emotional relaxation. That alone will refresh you, if yo do it every day; and you will find a source of much benefit in these exhausting days of fear and conflict.
THE CYCLE OF NECESSITY
The belief that the human soul is a sojourner in a strange land - the wandering heir to a lost inheritance, is, as far as I am able to ascertain, as old as the human race itself. There is ample evidence to show that it stretches back as far as written records go, and according to the Archaic Philosophy millenniums before that.
Unfortunately there exists in the minds of some people who should know better, the notion that this doctrine got its inception when the Theosophical Society was founded seventy years ago. How could anyone with the mentality of a tadpole, be so naive as to believe such palpable nonsense? It is true that the Society had much to do with the revival of this truth of truths in the Western world, and it drew the attention of the most intuitive members of the Occident to an appreciation of its value, but there are millions upon millions of people in the world who have never heard of such a Society, but who nevertheless regard reincarnation as the most reasonable explanation of the riddle of life and death.
There is another erroneous belief, not quite so puerile, yet fallacious withal, i.e. that rebirth is a purely Oriental concept, and that this degrading superstition may be all right for inferior races of people, but is beneath the dignity of enlightened Occidentals.
In The Mahatma Letters it says something to the effect that human nature changes very little in a million years, and I suppose there will always be those people in every age who, like Professor Pangloss in Voltaire's Candide are convinced that they live in the most enlightened of all ages and that this is the best of all possible worlds. Let us insert the knife of reason into this rather flatulent assumption. It is true that in the Orient this acceptance of the theory of re-embodiment is the rule and not the exception, but anyone who wants to take the trouble to investigate will find that it is very obvious that it has been and still is accepted by most of the greatest thinkers in the world - even in our materialistic age, and that it persistently crops up in all parts of the world, in spite of all efforts that have been made to suppress it.
It is very interesting to read those books on the subject of ethnology, written especially by those investigators, who have lived among those Indians and Esquimaux in the Arctic Circle, who have never before seen a white man. They report that many of these natives assert their conviction, that they have been on this earth before, and some claim that they can remember past lives. If you read The Gospel Of The Red Man, or The Indian Bible by
Ernest Seton Thompson, The Soul of the Indian by Ohiyesa (Dr. Chas. A. Eastman - A full-blooded Sioux Indian) or other books on this subject, of which there is an abundance, you will find plenty of evidence to show that this belief in metempsychosis was common among most of the tribes of the aborigines of this continent, before they contacted the white man. Many of the Shamans, wise men and those ascetics who practised meditation and lonely vigil claimed to be able to remember past embodiments.
In Eva Martin's excellent book, The Ring Of Return, there are excerpts from enough Roman writers such as Julius Ceesar, Lucan, Dalerius, Maxiumus, and Diodorus, and from the bards of ancient Britain to prove that reincarnation was an accepted doctrine, with many of the people who inhabited the British Isles before and after the Roman conquest. Max Muller who received his early education in Germany, but who spent most of his life in England, where he was professor of philology at Oxford until he died, is regarded as one of the greatest philologists of modern times, and he has the following to say: "The ancients were convinced that this belief came from the East; they imagined that Pythagoras, and others, could have got their belief in Metempsychosis from India only . . . but it can easily be shown that a belief in the transmigration of souls sprang up in other countries also, which could not possibly have been touched by the rays of Indian or Greek philosophy".
The belief in the cycle of necessity is manifestly spontaneaus, and original with primitive people in almost all parts of the world, and for a long time I entertained the opinion that possibly one half of them accept this hypothesis, but Eva Martin who has evidently made a life study of the problem gives her estimate as two-thirds. Furthermore if we leave the benighted Orientals out of consideration entirely, as well as primitive people, anyone with an open and unprejudiced mind, who reads this valuable book of hers, must be convinced that the majority of our greatest poets, and philosophers, and some of our greatest scientists, have regarded reincarnation as the only logical concept, which will give one grounds for believing in the immortality of the soul, and the evolution of consciousness. In The Ring Of Return she gives us passages from the greatest of these poets, philosophers, and scientists, ancient, medieval and modern. These include such names as Plato, Empedocles, Cicero and Virgil - Paracelsus, Bruno and Spinoza - Dante, Goethe, and Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, Sir Humphrey Davy, and Sir Oliver Lodge.
Why have so many of our greatest men and women of genius, especially poets and philosophers, at some time or another in their lives voiced the opinion, that this life is one only in a series of many lives? It would appear that Theosophy gives the most reasonable hypothesis with which to solve this problem, but this involves some consideration of the seven principles as explained in nearly all books, dealing with the fundamental principles of the Ancient Wisdom.
That we have a body is obvious to the most casual observer, but is that all there is to a human being - just so much blood, bones, nerve and brain tissue? Materialists have offered that explanation as sufficient, and thoughtless people have been satisfied with it, but careful thinkers have found it inadequate. Materialistic scientists have offered us the dogma that consciousness is secreted by the brain as bile is secreted by the liver, but Haliburton in his Handbook of Physiology has pointed out the absurdity of such a contention by drawing attention to the fact that bile
and liver and brains, are physical substances that can be weighed, or measured, or analyzed by physical means, but that consciousness cannot be examined in any physical manner or means whatever. Gustav Stromberg in The Soul Of The Universe, has dealt very convincingly with the subject of memory, and shown that it cannot possibly be stored in the vesicles of our brain cells, as Herbert Spencer endeavored to prove: he tells us about the scientific experiments, that have been performed to demonstrate that this is impossible, and the Ancient Wisdom has taught in all ages, that our physical brain memory is but the reflection of the Divine Memory, which is relatively infallible.
The Archaic Philosophy has also maintained from time immemorial, that a human being is not a one, but a seven-principled being. The seventh principle Atma is an aspect of the Absolute and strictly speaking, not an individual, but a universal principle; and yet while it is the synthesis of all the others, it so far transcends them, that its rays can be merely reflected in the others, and Atma with its vehicle, the spiritual soul or Buddhi, are spoken of as the Monad, which is obliged to gain experience, in all departments of nature before becoming endowed with mind or Manas. Buddhi-Manas is usually spoken of by Madam Blavatsky, as the reincarnating ego, or the causal body, or the real individual. The four lower principles constitute the personality, which is continually subject to change, and the eternal pilgrim becomes so closely identified with the passions and desires, the hopes, fears and ambitions of this human elemental, that it almost completely forgets its divine heritage. However those who practise concentration, meditation and contemplation are occasionally able to make a partial union or Yoga with the Higher Self. When the junction is complete this trancelike condition is called in the East, Samadhi, and when that state of spiritual ecstasy is reached the candidate becomes relatively omniscient, but when this trance-like state is over, all recollection of it may be lost to the physical brain memory. This apparently is what Tennyson gives expression to in The Two Voices -
"And here we find in trances, men
Forget the dream that happens then,
Until they fall in trance again.
So might we, if our state were such
As one before, remember much
For those two likes might meet and touch."
The genius can occasionally make a partial atonement of the higher with the lower principles, but those beings spoken of in theosophical circles as initiates or adepts have such control over the lower nature, that they can reach this state at will. Madame Blavatsky affirms in The Secret Doctrine that the apostle Paul was one of these initiates, and did he not say "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you".
What proof have we that this doctrine has any foundation in truth? None whatever if we restrict the horizon of our minds only to that which can be seen by means of a telescope, a spectroscope or a microscope. On the other hand what proof have we that there are such factors in nature as electrons? They cannot be seen by means of the most delicate, or the most sensitive instruments devized by the skill of man, and yet most if not all scientists are convinced that they do exist, through reasoning by analogy. The fact that belief in the doctrine of reincarnation forms the bulwark of the religious faith of some two-thirds of the human race is no actual proof of its truth: neither is
its antiquity: but its persistent appearance and reappearance throughout the whole world in all ages should make it worthy of the careful and unprejudiced examination of all thoughtful people.
- E.J. Norman.
There have been two or three occasions when it appeared to me to be expedient that I should retire from the office of General Secretary, but the lack of a successor who would unite all sections of the membership, halted such a decision. Every year when the annual elections came up, either in Lodge or Executive Council, I placed myself at the disposition of the members, with one exception when such action was anticipated and forestalled.
On the present occasion circumstances so clearly indicated the necessity for a change that I had no hesitation in accepting the advice of my level-headed friend, Mr. George McMurtrie, to retire. No successor was named and I had none in mind. I sent the usual agenda to Mr. Belcher for the February Executive, and one item was a suggestion that a committee be formed of the members of the Executive and the presidents of active Lodges to consult and secure a successor who would have the unanimous support of the members. Mr. Belcher did not mention this in his minutes and it was evidently ignored by the Executive for they at once approached Dr. Wilks with an offer of the office which he declined. I mention this because I have been told that some Toronto members who have endowed me with the mythical character of a dictator, feared that I had chosen my successor.
My health had prevented me attending any of these Executive meetings, and I am unaware who first mentioned Col. Thomson's name. Certainly not I.
I had previously nominated him as Acting Treasurer in place of Miss Crafter. But when I heard of the choice of the Executive my first thought was how stupid I had been not to have thought of him earlier. At once I gave him my hearty endorsement.
Col. Thomson is a modest gentleman, inclined to minimize his true value, a gallant soldier, a skilful artist, whose conceptions carry beauty and charm, a theosophist who interprets life from experience, not merely from books though he knows these as a careful student, altogether a man we can trust and esteem. So I hand over my responsibilities to him with a good conscience and high hopes.
It has always been my desire to conciliate and cooperate with the Lodges of the Federation and this is the only problem that may present any difficulty in our future. I have always stood by the ideals set forth by Madame Blavatsky, embodying truth and freedom. Under our constitution every member is accorded liberty of thought and the right to express his thoughts. This freedom of speech is the only subject of contention with the Federation: I cannot see how we can abandon it or any other of the Four Freedoms and still maintain a theosophic platform.
Undoubtedly the Liberal Catholic Church is the cause of the objection. We have no objection to this Church as such. I chartered the Annie Besant Lodge for a group of L.C.C. members, our only stipulation being that it would not give this Church any more prominence than any other Church. It is only the determination of the Church and its leaders to identify itself with the Theosophical Society that is objectionable. It is no attraction to Brahmins, Buddhists, Moslems, Jains and other religions to join the Society to be told that a Christian Church is its chief activity. But it is impossible to reason with sacer-
dotally minded priests and bishops.
When the L.C.C. is willing to take its place with Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans and other sects in its relations with the Theosophical Society we shall make progress in toleration and brotherhood. In the meantime patience and good feeling can be cultivated.
I have said that we follow the traditions and policy of Madame Blavtasky. This has been interpreted as some sort of dogmatism. It is only those who wallow in dogmatism who object to Madame Blavatsky. She, like Walt Whitman, leaves all free. No one is compelled to believe or disbelieve anything in the Theosophical Society. This is its unique distinction, only violated by priests and dogmatizing bishops. We honor Madame Blavatsky for this foundation principle that no one is compelled to accept any belief because some one says so. All the disputes and debates which some people object to, have been over this declaration of independence, often deliberately misrepresented by those who insist that "back to Blavatsky" means subordination instead of freedom. There can be no progress without this freedom. Unfortunately, few are worthy to enjoy it.
I have on several occasions written of my debt to Madame Blavatsky. Particularly on the celebration of the centenary of her birth I wrote out of my heart of my dependence on her inspiration. It was strange to me, when recently I wrote of my studies in Edinburgh for two years, and remarked that I had the opportunity of going to London to see Madame Blavatsky or to America to work for Theosophy; immediately, several of my best friends exclaimed, as though at last they had found a flaw in my armour, that I had slighted Madame Blavatsky at the outset, and what then could be thought of my judgment. Well, I had hoped that my friends would have had a better idea of me than to attribute the worst possible motive to my action. Perhaps I had better correct this now before worse constructions are built upon it. I did not go to London in 1889 because I did not think myself fit to enter her presence. I came to Canada to work for Theosophy with the hope that I might have something more worthy to bring to the feet of the Masters than I had in my apprenticeship days. But I can be no judge of the result.
What has been done for Theosophy in Canada has been done with the assistance and cooperation of hundreds of workers and thinkers and in spite of the indifference and sometimes the opposition of many who had affirmed their sympathy with the effort to form a nucleus of Brotherhood without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color. One forgets or overlooks such failures in the recollection of the loyal and faithful little band of the early nineties, William Jones, R.E. Port, Miss Brock, Mrs. Harris, John Randall, Samuel Beckett, Charles Armstrong, Arthur Taylor, and a few others unknown to the present generation who were the nucleus of their brief day. There was a revolution in 1895, another in 1907, still another in 1918, and finally on the urgence of western members the formation of the National Society. For twenty-six years I have had the honor of being chosen to carry on its official business, and still further honored in the recent election in being endorsed as the suggested editor still to carry on our Magazine. One cannot speculate on time and health but for such limited period that is permitted to me I can only record my sincerest gratitude for the opportunity to serve.
The Annual Meeting of the Toronto Lodge held on May 16th was attended by thirty-nine members. The Annual report of the Treasurer and a summary of the reports of the various working Committees were presented and passed. Mrs. E.B. Dustan presented a motion to amend the By-Laws to provide for a Recording Secretary and a Corresponding Secretary, with a provision that the two offices might be held by the one person and if so, the office would then be that of Secretary. It was pointed out that such a step would divide the work, of which there is a considerable amount, between two persons. This amendment was duly passed.
In his address to the members, the President, Mr. E.B. Dustan, briefly referred to the summary of the annual reports of Committees which had just been read and stated that these reflected the busy and successful year just ended. Mr. Dustan stressed the importance of maintaining at all time, freedom of opinion and freedom of expression within the Lodge.
The elections held to appoint a new Board of Directors resulted as follows:
President Mr. E.B. Dustan
1st. Vice-Pres. Mrs. G.I. Kinman
2nd Vice-Pres . Mr. N.W.J. Haydon
Treasurer Miss K.M. Lazier
Secretary. As no one at the meeting was ready to take over the position of Recording Secretary, Mr. D.W. Barr was elected to the two offices, it being understood that the Board would endeavor to appoint an assistant who would look after the work of Recording Secretary. Since the meeting Mrs. Roy Emsley very kindly consented to act in that capacity.
The following were elected to the Board: Mrs. L. Anderton, Mr. F. Belcher, Mrs. E.B. Dustan, Mr. G.I. Kinman, Miss F. Moon, Miss O. Olive, Mr. I. Orenstein, Mr. J.W. Schroeder, Miss M. Stark, Miss M. Todd.
Miss Olive, who was not at the Annual Meeting stated later that she would prefer not to act this year; the Board will therefore co-opt one of the other candidates.
On the following Wednesday, the New Board met to appoint the standing committees for the coming year; the Chairmen for these are:
Finance - Mr. G.I. Kinman.
Property and House - Mr. J.W. Schroeder.
Programme and Class - Mrs. L. Andemon.
Publicity and Mailing - Mrs. G.I. Kinman.
Library Board - Mr. F. Belcher.
Social Activity - Miss M. Stark.
Sick and Visiting - Mr. N.W.J. Haydon.
THEOSOPHY UP TO DATE!
- EVOLUTION: As Outlined in The Archaic Eastern Records,
Compiled and Annotated by Basil Cramp.
- H. P. BLAVATSKY: 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. Blavataky 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.
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
Several friends having strongly recommonded me to read The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham, as a theosophic book, I procured the volume and read it. It is a filthy book. The coarseness of Chaucer, the detail of Defoe, the frankness of Fielding without his gentlemanly reserve as in Amelia; the cesspool of Germany could not do worse. We have heard a lot about barnyard morality; Maugham gives us barnyard drama, and would condone the peccadilloes of Potiphar's wife in order to ridicule the innocence of Joseph. Caesar's wife could find no sympathy in these pages, and the amount of liquor consumed by the leading characters indicates that Father Mathew should get back to work as soon as possible. As a novel we suggest that it should be named Lechery Up To Date. In the last fifty pages there are some scanty references to the Vedanta teachings, but the idea that people who live as described in the story might find regeneration in such thought is not justified by experience. As George Eliot says somewhere, they have to be made over and made different. That such degenerate literature is welcome in our day bodes evil for the world and heralds the next war.
Mr. Emory Wood, of Edmonton, in acknowledging a notice of his election to the Executive, among other observations, wrote as follows: "I note that Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and of course Toronto Lodges are represented. With a little teamwork, all pulling together, we should try to vivify the dormant centres in Canada. I feel quite sure that it only requires a little effort, a certain amount of leadership and enthusiasm to repeat in other places what we have accomplished here. And let me say, we have hardly scratched the surface. Our publicity work has been confined to personal contact. We do not advertise, and only recently we started to announce our meetings over the air." This is excellent comment and must receive attention. The other long distance members of the Executive might also contribute from their experience in organization and extension, and thus assist in planning next season's campaign. We cannot forget Ottawa, London, Winnipeg.
It is with deep regret that I have to rote the death of Margaret, relict of the late Andrew Petrie Cattanach, both among my oldest friends, and both discovered in Edinburgh, in 1887-9 when I lodged in Montgomery Street and they were a couple of blocks farther down Leith Walk. They had lived in London also, for many years after I left Edinburgh, and I visited them there in 1907 and 1912. Mr. Cattanach had been a [[to p 114]]
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN CANADA
ANNUAL ELECTIONS 1945
MEMBERS TO BE ELECTED-7
NAME OF CANDIDATE
DUDLEY W. BARR
FELIX A. BELCHER
N. W. J. HAYDON
GEORGE I. KINMAN
ALBERT E. S. SMYTHE
DAVID B. THOMAS
W. E. WILKS
EMORY P. WOOD
[[This table cannot be reproduced here - dig. ed.]]
The ballots in the election of the General Executive were counted on Saturday afternoon, May 26 under the supervision of Mr. A.S. Winchester. The scrutineers were Lt.-Col E.L. Thomson, D.S.O., Mrs. Shone, Mr. Harold Anderson and Mr. Schroeder. The vote was light over a hundred members failing to send in their ballots. Where is their "ardent devotion?" There were 229 votes counted and the quota, under the proportional representation system, was 29. The No. 1 votes were Smythe 90, Barr 41, Thomas 21, Wilks 21, Belcher 18, Wood 17, Kinman 10, Gough 6, Haydon 5. The new Executive was declared elected as follows:
Albert E.S. Smythe
Dudley W. Barr
Felix A. Belcher
David B. Thomas
George I. Kinman
Emory P. Wood.
Smythe's surplus of 61 votes was distributed on the second count, electing Wilks and Belcher. The third, fourth, fifth and sixth counts distributed the other small surpluses with the result announced. The new General Secretary, Col. Thomson, was elected by acclamation.
From July 1st onwards all cheques, P.O. Orders, money orders, drafts, etc., for the funds of the Society should be made payable to E.L. Thomson, the General Secretary, who is under our constitution designated as the person to receive all remittances. Cheques, etc., made out to the Society, the Canadian Theosophist, and other designations, only add to trouble in endorsing, identification, etc. Covering letters should be sent with remittances. Donations, unless otherwise specified are credited to the magazine Fund.
member of the Scottish Lodge under Dr. Dickson and Mr. Brodie-Innes. He superintended the publication of The Transactions of the Scottish Lodge, a remarkable volume, now very scarce. He thought there should be a more popular appeal and founded the Edinburgh Lodge which still exists, though I doubt that it cherishes the memory of its founder. Mrs. Cattanach was too good a theosophist to feel entirely at home with the official theosophists. But she had a true and tender heart with all the warmth of Scottish hospitality. They are the last of my Edinburgh friends, and I can never hope to see Auld Reekie again. So goodbye to St. Giles, and the Castle, To Holyrood, Calton Hill, the Meadows, and the Wells o' Wearie.
AMONG THE LODGES
Hamilton Lodge held a pleasant social function on Tuesday evening, June 5th; the program arranged by Mrs. Mathers was: Miss Hilda Thompson, vocal solo; John Smith and Bob Yates, piano duet; Beverley Devereux, piano solo; Frances Markes, piano accordion solo; Patsy Rouse and Peggy Trayes, piano duet; Judy Lyons, recitation; Nellie Ruthven, Rose and May Newton, mandolin trio; Patricia O'Donnell, vocal solo; Rose Makulosi, piano accordion solo. Light refreshments were served, and Miss Thompson entertained by reading the tea-cups of many of those present.
On Tuesday, May 1st, the regular meeting of the Montreal Lodge was cancelled in favor of a celebration, the reason being the engagement of a very popular member, Miss Colombe Benoit, to Mr. Rolland Leclerc of Quebec City. Miss Benoit has been an enthusiastic member for several years, and was the founder and leader of the Young Theosophists' Group until most of its members moved out of town or became otherwise preoccupied with war work. Mr. Thomas spoke a few words and presented Miss Benoit with a table spread on behalf of the Lodge. He then introduced Mr. Fletcher Rourke, an unexpected visitor who, finding himself at a party instead of a study group, proved equal to the occasion, reading a selection of his poems and at different times singing in French and Italian. Mrs. Andre sang "I Love You Truly" and Mr. Thomas sang a very lilting arrangement which, being in Welsh, it is impossbile for us to name but Mr. Thomas assured us it translated as "The Council of the Goats!" This inspired Mr. Rourke to sing what he - tongue in cheek no doubt - called a negro spiritual, concerning the psychological reaction of a goat which had swallowed the laundry and been tied to the railroad tracks as punishment. Refreshments were served while these items were being presented. The wedding takes place at St. James' (Catholic) Cathedral on May 12th and Mr. and Mrs. Leclerc will reside in Montreal thereafter. - C.W.
During the month of May we have received the following magazines: - The Aryan Path, Bombay, February; The Indian Theosophist, Benares (10 pp.) January; The Theosophical Forum, Covina, May; Theosophy in Ireland, Jan.-March; Revista Teosofica Cubana, Nov.-December; The American Theosophist, May; Theosophy in New Zealand, Auckland, April-June; Theosophy, Los Angeles, May; The Theosophical News, Toronto, May; The Path, Sydney, Australia, Jan.-March; The Bombay Theosophical Bulletin (8 pp.) March; The Theosophical Worker, Adyar, March; Canada at War, Feb.-March; Revista Teosofica Argentina, March-April; Evolucion, Buenos Aires, March; Fraternidad, Santiago, Chile, Nov.-Feb.; The Aryan Path, Bombay, March.
News comes by cable from Calcutta of the death of Basil Crump on May 30th. Thus one more important figure of the early days of Theosophy has passed from a field of work which he took up at the age of twenty-five when he first came in touch with Mrs. A.L. Cleather, just after the death of H.P.B. and continued without a break in collaboration with her until her death in 1938. First, through the difficulties of the very last years of a Century that might have seen the Master's work as given through H.P.B. established on firm ground as a united nucleus to spread the heart of the Ancient Wisdom and to receive further currents of help for misguided humanity: but instead, exhibited increasing failure to meet the tests involved by H.P.B.'s withdrawal - itself the result of failure amongst her immediate pupils and followers to hold true to singleness of motive.
Through the various and increasing splits that ensued Mr. Crump's work with Mrs. Cleather finally emerged as a centre humbly adhering to what Mrs. Cleather's faith and knowledge, acquired as one of H.P.B.'s Inner Group of twelve, held to as true, without affiliations of any kind. Ever ready to pass on the pearl of great price to any who valued it as such and were anxious to prepare themselves to become of use, a Group was gradually gathered together in the early years of this Century, in which Mr. Crump was most active and helpful.
Mr. Crump was a Cambridge man, a barrister of the Inner Temple, a freemason, and finally succeeded his father (a K.C.), as Editor of the Law Times of London. From this post he resigned after some ten years, to devote himself entirely to the growing work that was ever his life motive. As happens with most of us, the experience he had gained in mundane activities was put to use in the exercise of scholarship and judgement on ordinary lines, united as it was to intuition that inspired the "Inner man".
After Mr. Crump's years of residence in England and Italy with Col. and Mrs. Cleather and their son, the last year of the first World War saw Group work transferred to India, where it was kept up both on the spot and by correspondence for many years thereafter. Mr. Crump was of much help in the spade work part of Mrs. Cleather's inspiration in her three books on H.P. Blavatsky, published in India. Later on in the ten years' residence of a smaller nucleus of the Group in China they came in direct and most favorable contact with the Tashi Lama on his long visit there. In China Basil Crump's literary work was and is of enduring value. The 1927 exact replica of H.P.B.'s original The Voice of the Silence, the first that had been attempted since the mutilated edition issued by the so-called T.S. of Mrs. Besant's day, gave a lead to further issues on the original lines by various Theosophical organizations.
Mr. Crump wrote, in collaboration with Mrs. Cleather, the larger part of Buddhism the Science of Life, and after years of absorption of the essence as well as the text of The Secret Doctrine, he wrote Evolution as Outlined in the Archaic Eastern Records, the most important synthesis of that magnum opus, and one that incites to study rather than supplies an easy substitute - for Evolution adheres to its source too truly, and without coloration, to make easy reading.
Basil Crump, by nature mild, quiet and unassuming, yet held a store of original Theosophical teaching and of Esoteric Buddhism, its root, perhaps unsurpassed by any Westerner how alive. Having been closely associated with Mrs. Cleather's Group I know at first
hand, and am glad to testify to Mr. Crump's great contribution to it, the links of which will surely be reforged at some future epoch in the continuation of H.P.B.'s work to assuage humanity's great ignorance and pain.
Mr. Crump had been compiling Memoirs of Mrs. A.L. Cleather, but had been impeded in the work by constant recurrence of serious illness. I have heard intermittently of its progress, but not having seen the MS I am entirely unable to say whether or not it is in shape for publication; negotiations, if any, will have been conducted through England.
This tribute to Basil Crump is written from first hand appreciation of his devoted work for the Cause in connection with Mrs. Cleather, and in grateful memory of the friendly help often extended to me and others in her Group of students.
- H. Henderson.
The H.P.B. Library,
343 Foul Bay Rd., Victoria, B.C.
MR. LUNTZ AND EIRENICON
Dear Mr. Editor: In The Canadian Theosophist of October 1944 you wrote that Mr. Luntz of Ancient Wisdom "will print no letters and copy no articles that state the issues" so when Mr. Luntz dealt with matters from Eirenicon in three successive issues, we wrote a reply for publication and waited to see what resulted, rather expecting it would be condensed on grounds of its length; that would however have revealed something of Mr. Luntz's editorial canons of fairness.
You may have seen that this letter was printed in Ancient Wisdom for February 1945, with Mr. Luntz's reply, on pp. 94/5 and over a column of further comment on p. 91. Our letter was condensed but not on grounds of space. The explanation was: "Because we are unalterably opposed to Theosophical magazines using their space to attack any Church as an institution, whether the attack be justified or otherwise, we have omitted those parts of Mr. Redfern's letter and our reply repeating or referring in detail to such attacks. Otherwise we should be giving publicity to the very charges we regard as out of place in a Theosophical publication. Beyond these omissions the letters are, with unimportant exceptions unabridged."
The deletions are interesting, for every quotation from H.P.B. and the Adepts is cut out; insofar as it deals with Roman Catholicism we send you the entire correspondence, apart from passages marked "private" on either part and replies to these; the words omitted by Mr. Luntz are underlined. If you think the letters of sufficient importance and interest, please feel free to print either our letter with the omitted passages restored, or the entire correspondence, including this to you.
38 Chapel Street,
April 24th, 1945.
The foregoing letter is an appeal to which we would gladly respond, but our space will not permit us to reprint 3000 words or so of Mr. Luntz's Ancient Wisdom. Argument with Mr. Luntz gets one nowhere. If you make a point against him he simply blue pencils it and no one is any the wiser. He admits nothing to his columns which would enlighten his readers on the matters in debate. He may not be a Jesuit but he adopts Jesuit methods and collects a set of morons who read and admire his smartness. He professes to regard Madame Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine as back numbers and out of date. This in itself is a measure of what he regards as his massive intellect. We
who contemplate the wisdom of the Masters with wonder and affection he classes with the outer hordes who know not their right hands from their left. If we ignore him he is well content. If we state well-known and indisputed facts about his idols and their legends, he suppresses the information and calls it an attack. His chief aim is to protect the Liberal Catholic Church from dangerous publicity, and to guard its Latin origin from investigation. What he regards as "attacks" should be remembered when reading his statement as follows: "The crux of the exceptions I take to attacks on the Roman Catholic Church or on any Church is that they have no place in a theosophical publication because they are likely to hurt rather than help the cause of Theosophy." Safety first; never mind the truth!
It is idle to say that we are not attacking pious and charitable Roman Catholics. Most of us have Roman Catholic friends. We have a number of them in our T.S. in Canada. Quebec is a Roman Catholic Province and the faults of the Church and its members are fully understood there if they are not in Missouri. The editor of Le Jour, Mr. Jean-Charles Harvey, a Roman Catholic and a true lover of genuine liberty and democracy, has recently written an article which has attained a wide circulation in Quebec as well as outside that province, and we think that the passages from it which we append fully justify the "attacks" that Mr. Luntz deplores. Mr. Harvey thinks his compatriots are dominated by Fear, and perhaps Mr. Luntz may unconsciously to himself have similar inhibitions to contend with. Hearken to Mr. Harvey: -
The Fear of Death
I believe that fear and its contrary, bravery, are cultivated in early childhood. It is possible that the abuses of stories of ghosts and of bogies to put children to sleep, obedience forced on children by striking and slapping, vivid descriptions of eternal fire and continual promises of corporal punishments in this world and in the next, have the effect of creating in young minds a psychosis of fear that pursues them through life . . . .
There was a time, not so very long ago, when people in our countryside believed that the dead could come back to earth, either to wreak vengeance on a former enemy or to bring someone to repent of his sins, and above all, to beg to be liberated from purgatory by the saying of masses. What terrifying stories of ghosts I have heard as a child! . . . . .
There are in the world, certain established powers, privileged classes and castes, which regard progress and liberty as their worst enemies. They seek to hold down, motionless, unchanging, everything which they have made to support their privileges. They act so that the great mass of men who are subject to them and whom they crush under their weight, refuse to fight and are afraid to move. They know how to utilize a psychology as old as the world, that of all the tyrannies which have appeared in the course of the centuries. They excite the instinct of preservation by means of temporal or eternal punishment and then they rule as masters. Among the most typical manifestations of this policy of terror in the course of history may be mentioned the crucifixion of Jesus on Golgotha, the early Christians given to the lions by the Roman Emperors or the heretics delivered to the stake by the Inquisition of Torquemada. At the present time, the totalitarian states offers us still more horrible examples . . . .
The Supreme Power in Quebec
I return then, to the question, "Of whom are we afraid?" Well, we are afraid of the supreme power, of the
power of which you are all thinking at this very moment and which none of you dare name. In every country where there is an arbitrary, absolute authority, anonymous in criticism. It takes some presumptuous idiot like my friend Damien Bouchard, or like your humble a servant, voluntarily to put his head in the cutting box of the guillotine. The only power in this part of Canada which makes everybody tremble is the power of the clergy. It is, in this province of Quebec, the supreme power. Weigh my words carefully: it is not precisely religion, not even the Church, before which we must all bow, no, I said the power of the clergy. Do not be in a hurry to call me an anticlerical. Our most enlightened citizens long for the day when a broader and more rational education will allow the masses to distinguish between clericalism and religion, between the Church and a nationalistic clergy, between a purely moral activity and a social activity, between a pure and disinterested apostolate and a zeal inspired by political ends, and between a spiritual authority and an economic domination. . .
The Greatest Monopoly in North America
It is no attack on religion and morals to say that this great power is at the same time dispersed and concentrated through every part of our political, social, economic and individual life. It is at the door of all our schools, high and low, and at the very threshold it puts its mark on those who are beginning life; it holds sway on every teacher's chair, it has the key to every university and to all the faculties there, where it imposes its law; solely and without competition it dictates to our youth what they shall think, their ideas, their conception of patriotism and their philosophy of life; again it alone claims the right to be present, without any suggestion of neutrality, at every association, every group, every movement composed of French-speaking Canadians; it alone shapes the heart and soul of at least 90 percent of all our societies, which in most cases it has called into being; it controls almost the entire medical profession by the possession or the control of the majority of our hospitals; it controls either directly or indirectly, the various clientele in the professional, commercial and educational realms, so that anyone who deals with the public is at its mercy; it is the invisible gag on almost the entire French-language press because effective campaigns to drive away subscribers would invariably follow the public expression of any opinion that is openly displeasing to it; it lays hold on a part of our working youth by thrusting it into groups just as it has organized adult workers in its (Roman Catholic) labor unions; it holds bank directors in obedience by means of the considerable financial transactions that it carries on through them; altogether it has acquired throughout this immense country so much property of various sorts that it is incontestably wealthier than any other monopoly in North America. It escapes the tax of blood as it does that of money; in practice it is not subject to law of the land, and by its right to tax it constitutes a state within a state.
And it is for that reason - and this has nothing to do with religion - that the province of Quebec is dominated by fear; it is for this reason, consequently, that so many of our liberties are strangled. When people feel that they are threatened with the loss of their situation or their job or their customers, or that they are under the threat of a systematic boycott or of a general campaign of vilification each time that their views are not acceptable in high places, well, we understand that it is difficult to resist the instinct of conservation. . .
It may be that as you leave this place not one single person will make the
resolution to do something for the liberation of three million of our brethren. But the cat has been belled by a few of us who still bear the scars that we received. As for me, I have paid the price; at least, I often hear round about me the sound of the bell of those who would like to frighten me or scratch me or beat me down.
I am going to tell you something in confidence: Once upon a time, there came a moment in my life when I had nothing more to lose, nothing. And having nothing to lose, I lost my fear too! At this very moment we are at the close of a war in which millions of young men, the bravest and best, gave their lives to preserve for the rest of us liberty of thought, of belief and action and speech. It is thanks to their sacrifice that I am free this evening to say aloud what you think in private. In claiming that honor I have not only exercized a sacred right; but I have accomplished a duty toward millions of heroes and saints who have died for us.
- Jean-Charles Harvey.
We are still at war in the Pacific, but we get a wrong point of view if we keep talking of war with Japan. It is a war for the emancipation of China, our loyal and useful ally. Though the Chinese Empire, though ten or twelve thousand years old, still has recuperative qualities, and the national character is solid and sincere, based on well-known policy of education by which men pursue academic distinction till they are seventy or eighty years of age. Nor does China fail to respond to such cosmic urges as made Greece famous in the 5th and 6th centuries B.C., Confucius and Lao Tse being contemporaries of Plato and Pythagoras and the Lord Buddha. Such revelational developments of the noetic consciousness indicate that the national life has kept in touch with the higher levels of human thought and built on a practical basis of ethical and vital purpose. While the Chinese out-number the Japanese four to one, the Japanese are well organized by expert German militarists, who, at the same time, managed to imbue their pupils with the virus of Prussian despotism and cruelty. One of the wonders in this war of wonders is the work in China of young General Wedemeyer. His grand-father came from Germany in 1840 and organized a band which played as the troops marched through Georgia. His father also organized a band for the Spanish-American war. But young Wedemeyer had other interests. He became a West-pointer; was sent to the Philippines, five years later was in China. In 1934 he was back in the States. He began to study economics, foreign affairs, history and the new concept of air power. In 1936 he was chosen to attend the German General Staff School. He made a technical report on what he learned and this came to the serious attention of George Marshall, and was remembered by him when he became Chief of Staff. Wedemeyer was marked for service and his advance has been rapid. As Lieutenant-General his directive from Washington was to help China to forge an effective fighting force. This has been carried out with complete success and with due effect upon the enemy. This course has apparently been taken since it is believed that the Japanese will have to be driven off the mainland in land battles. In Germany social organization is being completed under military surveilance, reliable Germans, free from Nazism, being chosen for positions of trust and leadership. The various Councils and Conferences have surmounted the several obstacles which some newsmen thought had threatened the success of the peace preparations. Russia has
proven tractable when fairly met and has compromized on the main points of difficulty. Great Britain and Canada '"have gone in for electioneering with some peculiar results. One piece of secret diplomacy has been divulged, and it is said, threatens to end Winston Churchill's popularity. It is alleged that he had a secret agreement with Marshal Petain by which Petain was to double-cross the Germans and work for the Allies. There is little prospect of a successful peace unless the Big Interests take an interest in the proceedings. If they adopt an international outlook instead of the parochial one which they usually follow, there will be no difficulty with the major problems of reform and benefaction which the world bends its knees to obtain. That there is a kinder atmosphere greeting such progressive advances is certain. Here is an instance which bears more hope of cooperation than any similar gesture after the last war.
After a searching analysis of the Dunbarton Oaks proposals an editorial committee of the Fortune magazine of New York made the following seven suggestions to improve the Organization of the San Francisco proposals:
1. Greater recognition of the rule of Law.
2. Greater recognition of the need for peace in change.
3. Strengthen the General Assembly.
4. The role of the Security Council should be modified.
5. Encouragement to regional arrangements.
6. A declaration of principles with regard to colonial and non-self-governing peoples.
7. International bill of rights.
As a summing up this sentence says a lot: "If a humane civilization is to survive, based on the rights of man and the sacredness of the individual, an international organization must be concerned with man's treatment of man everywhere."
Now that the barking of Hitler and his hell-dogs is silent, the world already has a gentler tone. But all clamor is not yet entirely stilled. France has made another faux pas and stirred up evil in the Levant. If the gallant de Gaulle could only remember occasionally that he is not the only pebble on the beach, France would make more friends than critics. Argentina has been unable to rid herself of the ill nature that makes civil war. But the Big Three continue to be the best of friends, in spite of some Chicago Journalists. For the rest, the people who stayed at home, they have a severe trial ahead of them, an epidemic of intestinal flu, a new and more deadly kind than ever, is spreading everywhere with agonizing pains to recall the painless days that once were, and to balance the war accounts, has arrived from the scenes of battle and is on the way everywhere. Nature is at war, too.
The following books have just been received from the binders, and owing to the advanced prices of material due to the war, prices have had to be raised from the moderate rates. - ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPELS by H.P. Blavatsky. 60 and 75 cents.
- ANCIENT AND MODERN PHYSICS by Thomas W. Willson. 60 cents.
- THE EVIDENCE OF IMMORTALITY by Dr. Jerome A. Anderson. 75 cents.
- MODERN THEOSOPHY by Claude Falls Wright. 75 cents.
- THE BHAGAVAD GITA, A Conflation by Albert E.S. Smythe. 75 cents.
Order from THE BLAVATSKY INSTITUTE
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IN THE DAYS OF CUCHULAIN
The star that is to shine for ever upon the forehead of the Gael
Acting up to that strange instinct of humankind for ever beholding on the brows of the past the seal of all things desirable with which it invests the vision of the future, we of modern time are apt to regard the present as something extremely commonplace, shorn of splendour, and devoid of that heroic beauty which stamps the ideal. Ever that ideal unrealized in earthly lineament eludes us, until it would seem that in the ever-unfolding Beyond itself is the jewel of Heart's Desire.
Nothing can be more interesting, more indicative of the great Presences thronging the inner world, and of that world's own existence, than the story of Cuchulain and his times. To the lover of myth and faerie, to the believer in spell and rune, the seeker of enchantment, these annals of Heroic Ireland offer many a golden key. And for us to whom in very truth "myth is the reality of which history is the skeleton," and who can perceive that "all great myth which is truth is acted through great lives," (Annie Besant), the Hound of Muirthemne and the lesser figures surrounding him show forth as those who incarnated in Ireland at a period when the great truths required personification, in order to strike with fresh compelling force on the lives of the mass. It need hardly be said that Cuchulain bears about him throughout the signs and wonders of all such heroes and deliverers, nor can the student fail to recognize the close parallel existing between the Great War of Ancient India and the strife which rages with equal intensity on Muirthemne's plain. To quote one instance only for the moment, we find that in one of these battles the aged king, Aileel Mor, whose eyes are said to be dim, relies upon his charioteer Fer Loga to detail for him the progress of the strife. (S. O'Grady, History of Ireland, p. 209, and Bhagavad-Gita, trs. A. Besant, i). When we become imbued with the spirit of these records we penetrate more deeply still into their mysterious beauty, until the far vision of Cathbad the Druid becomes ours, and for a brief moment we see that the Great War, under whatever national garb, is never ending, since Eire of our love, rent with strife and yearning, is echoing to the din of battle yet, and the keening of her is the voice of her wounded Guardian, whose wounds are unhealed to this hour.
Of a truth was it said then that on the world stage the dramas of the Inner World are portrayed, but it might perhaps have been said with equal truth that at such periods the mystery which we call the future and the past of the nation, as it were, gathers itself into that bounded area, where, between the human limits set for it, the might of divine Life surges for a while, adhering with marvellous fidelity to the natural order, obeying its own laws. Hence all such epochs begin by the birth of the Christos, or Wonder-Child, recognized alike by "his own who come with him" and by those who in "high places" strive against him. The future then of this lovable land of Faerie reveals itself in the characteristics shown through its Champion. In the magnanimity, the warm heart, the resistless strength, the mystic knowledge inspiring Cuchulain lies the inheritance of Cuchulain's people in the coming time.
But the boyhood of Cuchulain claims us, and Cathbad the Ard Druid puts on his "divining robe," taking the "divining instruments" and making "the symbols of power." It is to the East his gaze turns, reminding us of the portent of a later birth which there dawned. And it is from the Orient that "the child of many prophecies" is seen advancing,
"the star that is to shine for ever upon the forehead of the Gael." (The above quotations are from S. O'Grady's History of Ireland).
A fitting nurse to the infant hero was one Detheaen, a Druidess and daughter of Cathbad, whose breastplate of power woven of Druidic verse is said to have shielded Ulla (Ulster). Detheaen it is who sings the lullabies of protection needed for the guarding of such children. And throughout the narratives one prevailing feature is the constant recourse to these mantrams or runes, often inscribed in "Ogham," presumably some mystery language used, but forming part of the daily practice, the common belief of the people.
One of the "geasas" of Cuchulain - namely that of not being awakened from sleep - was discovered by Detheaen, and is referred to in a later story of Cuchulain as warrior.
The first exploit of Cuchulain, or Setanta, which was his birthname, takes place at three years of age, finding its parallel in the Greek tale where the infant Hercules strangles the Serpents.
On the seventh birthday - so closely does the story follow the lines familiar to Theosophists - Setanta is no longer the child. "The mysterious voices" have called him. Lu the Long Handed, his Guardian, who seems to have been the Sun God, appears to him; Munanaun, the Ocean Deity, Son of Lir, flings his mantle over the boy. In a vision he beholds the chariots and horses of his own people whirling by: "They went as though they saw him not." During his slumber on the hillside the faerie steed, the Grey of Macha, visits him, leaving the place at dawn. Here again is echo of many an olden tale. Sosiosh, the Kalki Avatara, according to the Hindus, is to come on a white horse, (The Secret Doctrine, i. 114.) , also the Redeemer prophesied of in Rev. xix. 13. The lad awakens, and goes to pay his "stone tribute" to the cairn of Fuad. We have here the ancient and gracious custom of recognizing the mighty dead by raising over their grave a cairn, to which each passerby added a stone.
So, "impelled by the unseen," Setanta comes to Emain Macha, the place of Heart's Desire, but not to be acknowledged and welcomed as he had dreamed, until he wins his right by a battle in which it is significant that he is left to hew his way alone, a knight, by name Conaill Carna, being mysteriously prevented from coming to his aid. In the school of war, whose head was Concubar Macnessa, his uncle, the youth is trained in the battle art, and in all useful handcraft, as well as the moral duties, the laws of chivalry, hospitality, reverence and loyalty - a school which will fittingly bear comparison with the training of Hindu princes, as related in Hindu epics.
During the visit to the great smithy, the master of which, Chulain, holds a festival where gather the companions of Concubar and the King himself, the second great feat of Setanta - that from which his future name is derived - takes place. The smiths themselves seem to have meant more than mere laborers of the artisan class, and under this symbolic name to have comprised a group of occultists, of which there must have been many in ancient Erin. Setanta's arrival is delayed, and ere joining his party he must pass the fierce hound of Chulain who guards the door. The animal springs at him but is quickly slain, and the carcass brought to Chulain is very nearly becoming a pretext for strife, only that the nephew of Concubar quells the uproar by promising to act henceforth as the guardian of Chulain's possessions; hence arises the name by which Ireland's champion is hereafter known: "Cu," the hound - Cu Chulain, the hound of Chulain.
While Setanta's boyhood is thus
passed, and those about him are as yet ignorant or only dimly apprehend the heroic destiny which trembles on fulfilment, Concubar appoints him ward of the chariot of Macha, Goddess of Emain, and the lad accepts this offer. In the chariot house the invisible deities of Erin gather and proclaim the coming of Cuchulain. Boylike and unmindful of his power, he asks his uncle many questions concerning the mystic steeds, which have not been seen for three hundred years. They are to come again for the "promised one," and the king of Emain is under geasa to keep the chariot bright and to see that hay and barley be in the stalls. (This geasa was thus in one of its meanings a stern obligation laid on a man to fulfil certain duties.) The hour meanwhile approaches. Lu the Long-handed appears, and bids the lad seek the Black Shanglan and the Liath Macha, the steeds of power. Great indeed is that seeking and great the finding, but the strength of Cuchulain conquers the terrible might of the Liath Macha, his future war horse, and it is no earthly combat which is waged in the darkness between man and beast that night. All round Ireland the rider sweeps and circles, bounding into the place of trial, "the Dark Valley," where the eternal gloom reigns; fearless as Ulysses of the Hellenes penetrating the Stygian gloom and emerging to the light of day, so Cuchulain emerges, leading with him the second steed, the Black Shanglan. Taken as symbols we read here the truth that the hero, "Master of Life and Death," (Voice of the Silence, old edition, p. 55) "keeper of the Keys of Hell," (Rev., i. 18.) has conquered and penetrated the mystery of Death and Life, Darkness and Light, and employs the twin Forces as he will for evermore, but as their ruler who has bridled them, and who compels their love and recognition in that very bridling. What wonder that when Cuchulain returns some mysterious sickness overcomes him, and the leech who is called in appeals to Cathbad the Druid for the healing balm, the "symbols of power," and incantations, which alone restore him to health.
Thus ends the boyhood of the Hound, amid the din of arms, the shouts of victory, the triumphal passage of chariots, the laying waste of Nectan's Dun, where the evil ones, drinkers of human blood, dwelt, and other emblems of the struggle wherein the greater part of his short life is to be spent.
For Queen Maeve is against him, and an active supporter of the Clan Cailtin, herself a great ruler, and skilled in dark enchantments, which as the deadly foe of the young Cuchulain she employs against him. It is Cailtin "round whom the cold horror dwells," (History of Ireland, ii. 177), a phrase conveying a strange impression of majesty and austerity inseparable from those denizens of the Inner Realm.
Not less impressive and eloquent as a picture is the vision of Maeve, and the progress of the battle as narrated to Aileel Mor, her husband, by Fer Loga, his charioteer. So might the Indian hero Arjuna have appeared to the watcher in Arytvarta, as Krishna the Driver steered his battle car through the Kshattrya hosts. "This mighty warrior running forward . . . . Truly the warriors are not born who could resist his onset . . . . So terrible is he and so beautiful . . . . It is the Hound of Muirthemne, O Fer Loga . . . . it is Cuchulain, the invincible son of Sualtam." (History of Ireland, ii. 216-18.) Compare again the counsels of Cuchulain to Lugaid on the eve of his proclamation as King in Teamhair (Tara). "Der not be ungentle or hasty or passionate . . . . Do not let wrongful possession stand because it has lasted long . . Let the tellers of history tell truth before you, . . . do not mock, do not give
insults, do not make little of old people. Do not think ill of anyone, do not ask what is hard to give . . . Be obedient to the advice of the wise . . . when you do wrong take the blame of it, do not give up the truth for any man." (Gregory, Cuchulain of Muirthemne, pp. 295-296).
Said Bhishma the "Grandsire" to Yudhisthira: "He (the King) must be devoted to truth, and administer justice . . . he should be deferential to the aged, and as warrior should fight without anger and blood-thirstiness, should not strike a disabled foe, should ever protect the weak and be fixed in fortitude." (Annie Besant, Story of the Great War, pp. 219, 220, 222.)
The "hero light" round Cuchulain's head so often referred to (Cuchulain of Muirthemne, p. 59) , is well known to us. The saints of mediaevalism are portrayed surrounded by a golden aureole. The sudden magnifying of stature in Cuchulain is also very significant. Under the impulse of a larger life, an overbrooding Presence, the human form has been known to assume for a brief flashing moment more majestic proportions than it normally possessed. The mystic numbers, too; play their part in the Irish myth, for we read of the house belonging to Scathach, the warrior queen, instructress of warlike arts, as having seven great doors, seven great windows, three times fifty couches whereon rested the same number of royal maidens. This appearance of Cuchulain is chronicled by Miss Hull, but with a Christian addition which is superfluous and does not to my mind improve it. That, and the account of Patrick's conversation with Cuchulain, whom he is said to summon from the invisible world, are two of various interpolations made to suit the fancy of the monk chroniclers in the middle ages or earlier.
More attractive is the description of that strange shield forged by Chulain the smith for Concubar, "Ochain, the Moaning One," which moaned when the King was in peril, and to which all the shields in Ulster would answer. (Cuchulain of Muirthemne, p. 350). The waist-piece of Cuchulain's armour is sevenfold, his battle shirt sevenfold, and he wears a lena (or shirt) of twenty-seven fold. (History of Ireland, p. 259.)
A curious account of Cuchulain's testing is given where one "Uath the Stranger," having put spells on the edge of an axe, makes a covenant with the hero by which he, Uath, is to be slain, and yet to slay Cuchulain on the day following. However Uath at the fateful moment shows himself as "Curoi, son of Daire, come to try the warriors through enchantment."
Then we come across the "blood bond," indicating one of the many ancient customs, and it is referred to where Cuchulain is said to loosen the tie between himself and his comrade Ferdiad ere he kills him in what corresponds to our modern duel, an encounter in which the old chivalrous spirit of the times is clearly marked. "Every charm and every spell that was used on the wounds of Cuchulain he sent a full share of them over the ford westward to Ferdiad, and of every sort of food and drink that was sent to Ferdiad he sent a share of them over the ford northward to Cuchulain." (Cuchulain of Muirthemne, p. 234.)
Very pathetic is the answer of Ferdiad to his friend's disuasion: "O Cuchulain, giver of wounds, true hero, every man must come in the end to the sod where his last grave shall be." (Idem, p. 234.) Not less so Cuchulain's lament, which may stand side by side with that of Deirde for the sons of Usnach, and of Emer for himself. "O Ferdiad, you were betrayed to your death, your last end was sorrowful; you to die, I to be living, our parting for
ever is a grief for ever. When we were far away with Scathach the Victorious we gave our word that to the end of time we would never go against one another." (Idem, p. 241.) And "Oh! my love," said Emer, when battle days were done, "if the world had been searched from the rising of the sun to sunset the like would never have been found in one place of the Black Shanglan, and the Grey of Macha, and Laeg the chariot driver, and myself and Cuchulain." (Cuchulxin of Muirthemne, p. 346.)
Who of those that read it ages after the wild wail rang in Erin can read untouched the death chant poured out by Deirdre? "Make keening for the heroes that were killed on their coming to Ireland; stately they used to be coming to the house, the three great sons of Usnach. That I would live after Naoise let no one think on the earth; I will not go on living after Ainnle and after Ardan.." (Idem, pp. 136-7.)
On the other hand does not the sublime consciousness of one who knows shine through Cuchulain, where, speaking to Ferdiad the conquered he thus proclaims: "Dark and sorrowful death is not, but a passage to the Tir-na-noge, the land of the Ever Young, where hatred and scorn are not known, nor the rupturing of friendship, but sweet love rules all over." (S. O'Grady, The Gates of the North, p. 108.)
Fierce as are the hosts of war in human shape they are less terrible than those powers of Hell embattled by the Magician Cailtin and his brood for the destruction of the hero, before whom Lu spreads another and a soul-inspiring vision of that Eire for whose honor Cuchulain suffers and endures. The faerie queens guarding the sacred hazel, "the memorials raised to him in after-time by a grateful people," "the strange lands with mightier streams and fiercer suns where dwells the race of ancient Gaedl," the sword "inscribed in Ogham," (History of Ireland, p, 279.), all these and more Cuchulain beheld as he passed into the shadow, and "around him nations trembled, but into his heart Ioldana breathed his own lavish soul."
It is the beginning of the end, for the day of Ireland's woe, the last battle of her champion, is at hand. At the Druid Council it is determined that Cuchulain shall be placed under the protection of Genann, in the chamber where are "the idol gods and instruments of magic." (History of Ireland, p. 311). But not even these can turn aside destiny, that destiny which became his on the eventful day when the child chose knighthood which should be "short but glorious." So was it with Varchas, the beloved son of Soma, who came from Svarga to fight on Kurukshetra, only on condition that he should die young, and return to his place among the Gods. (Annie Besant, Story of the Great War, p. 265).
And it is no earthly voice, however sweet, that can drown the warning song of MacManar the Harpist as he plays in the moonlight, and no earthly vision, however fair, that can hide the sight of Rod when the hour has fallen. "I was ever aware of a spirit not my own with my spirit," (Ibid., p. 318), muses Cuchulain before Genann. "The Gods have forsaken me," he continues.
"It is the enchantment of the Clan Cailtin," (Ibid., p. 320), answers Cuchulain's friend, speaking the old truth in a strange tongue, that truth of the last great illusion brought against the Initiate to shake his fortitude, to delay his mighty mission to the world. And the hero answers: "It is enough, O schoolfellow, my end is come. I shall perish in this battle, but the high Gods . . .. . are around me, and I shall die as I have lived, under their hands."
Many omens surround that last forth-going, the maidens wash the blood-stained lena at the stream, but no cleansing can remove the stain. (History of
Ireland, p. 330.) The food proffered the three daughters of Cailtin and accepted by him seems to seal his doom, and forms a curious parallel with the story of the Buddha's last repast.
Together the faithful Laeg and his master resume the journey: "We go down now to die on the plains of Muirthemne." (Ibid., p. 336.)
It is of Lewy MacConroi, Leader in the army of Meave, that Cuchulain receives his death thrust, and the Liath Macha breaks at a bound his chain and traces, and returns to "The Realms of the Unseen on the Boyne." (Ibid., p. 340. )
Is the child who appears to the hero the image of the Treasure House of his immortal genius, that Permanent Vessel into which all such withdraw, and from which it may be the Hound of Muirthemne shall leap forth for us again? Does the message flooding his unquenchable spirit at its passing breathe inspiration and hope for Cuchulain's Homeland?
"Regard not those children of evil, my brother, their dominion is but for a time." (History of Ireland, pp. 345-6.)
- Eveline Lauder.
-From The Theosophical Review, November, 1902.
NATURE FROM AN OCCULT ANGLE
"Before heaven and earth existed there was in Nature a Primordial Substance"
This sentence in a quotation from Lao Tse, suggested an inquiry into what might be comprised in the word NATURE as used by the Chinese sage. I came to the conclusion that of all words - which by the way, we are told are "things", this "thing" is one of the most pregnant. If it is true that "the pen is mightier than the sword," as our copybooks told us, it is because in its magazine there are live-giving as well as death-dealing missiles: words, which therefore need care and discrimination in their use. Of "Nature" it may be said that it is more than what Max Muller categorizes as "brick-words"; for it is a palace in itself, as even a glance at its varied interpretations can show.
Lao Tse says he does not know the name of this "primordial substance". [". . . Mulaprakriti, the `root Principle' of the world stuff and of all in the world." The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky, Vol. 1, p. 522, cf., also Ibid 1, 598. ". . the primary stuff, out of which the Dhyan-Chohans, in accordance with the immutable laws of nature, wove our solar system.] Perhaps "Ether" expressed for earlier scientists the elusive idea of their intensive research. But Ether was known to the occultists as only one of the `lower principles' of what we call the PRIM-ORDIAL SUBSTANCE (Akasa, in Sanscrit)" and, with them, that "ETHER is the Astral Light, and the Primordial Substance in AKASA ["Surely it is . . . . . Akasa, that Kant had in view . . . . by the postulation of a universally pervading primordial substance." The S.D. I, 658.] the upadhi of Divine Thought." (Italics and Capitals are copied from the originals in every case.)
I have strung together here on a chain of thought some quotations, mostly of an Eastern color which go far to elucidate what is comprised within the compass of this so diversely used word.
At first we think by our own thought effort to throw light round the subject. But soon, if this is sincere, our attention finds a dawning light from Nature itself suffusing our thought about her. When we can say with "Shakespeare," "In Nature's infinite book of secrecy, a little I can read", we begin to find that there "everything is mathematically coordinate and mutually related in its units." [Ibid, I, 635.] For, "Nature geometrizes universally in all her manifestations. There is an inherent law, not only in the
primordial, but also in the manifested matter of our phenomenal plane - by which Nature correlates her geometrical forms, and later also her compound elements, and in which there is no place for accident or chance." [Ibid. I, 97.]
Nature, to the casual thinker is just the world outside and around him, perhaps even only the fields and trees and scenery as apart from and in contrast with, the brick and mortar outline of his townlife horizon. But sometimes a man may suddenly become aware of what seems like another "self" inside his common or garden self trying to call his attention. This, if attended to he will in time recognize as his own share, his "ray of the Spirit of Nature". Surely this is what Shelley must have sensed when he wrote of "being made one with Nature". The phrase suggests an idea of progressive discovery, as if at one time he felt himself, if not alien, at least apart from some matrix [Professor Radhakamal Mukerji, of the University of Lucknow writes (Aryan Path VII No. 5) of a matrix-consciousness as a connotation of Alaya-Viljnana. Sylvain Levi translates "Alaya" as "the sensation of the groundwork."] which was his real home. He must have realized Nature "not in the sense of Natus `born', but Nature as the sum total of everything visible and invisible, of forms and minds, the aggregate of the Known (and unknown) causes and effects, the universe in short, infinite and uncreated and endless as it is without a beginning." [Letters of the Masters to A.P. Sinnett. p. 63. It may interest readers to know that the originals of these letters have been given irrevocably to the British Museum, under the care of MS. experts as a kind of National Trust.] It might be likened to a withdrawing in a centripetal motion from the world of Time and Space in which we think we `live', into some more real spiritual region where perception may be attained without the medium of brain-mind activity.
Among the most spiritual dicta coming from the ancient East to the inattentive West at the end of last century there is this: "Help Nature and work on with her, and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators, and make obeisance". [Voice of the Silence.] What a tremendous order, and sublime opportunity. Man may well quail before it with a sense of inadequacy. Help was given to a humble devoted inquirer in the following sentences; "You `help Nature' by clearing away rubbish your own; transforming death-dealing forces into those which give life - within yourselves. This is part of Nature's work. . . thus may you help Nature . . . The one obstructionist in Nature's path is Man (i.e., lower man). This must be remedied - begin with yourselves, cease to oppose the work of purification your higher nature would accomplish." [cf. the forthcoming Memoirs of Alice Leighton Cleather.] And again "Gather strength from great Nature."
What are these "death-dealing forces" in our power, but those set going in that dynamo we call our brain, those "Thoughts" over which we exercize so little control, thoughts which are dangerously crystallized into words or actions. The Eastern teaching bids us "become as one with Nature's Soul-Thought", saying "At one with it thou art invincible; in separation thou becomest the playground of Samvritti, origin of all the world's delusions" [Voice of the Silence.] thus indicating a region where thought may be purified at its source. This gives more evidence of Nature as an entity, with qualities and powers similar to those with which she has endowed her progeny, qualities which man as "the one free agent in Nature," is constantly putting to wrong uses, contaminating the flow and polluting the stream.
(To Be Concluded.)
GOD AND I
God and I in space alone,
And nobody else in view.
"And where are the people, O Lord?" I said,
"The earth beneath and the sky o'er-head,
And the dead whom once I knew?"
"That was a dream," God smiled and said,
"A dream that has ceased to be true -
There were no people, living or dead,
No earth beneath and no sky o'erhead.
There was only Myself and you!"
"And why do I feel no fear," I said,
"Meeting you here this way?
For I have sinned, I know full well,
And is there heaven and is there hell,
And is this the judgment day?"
"Nay, those were but dreams," the great God said,
"Dreams that have ceased to be.
There are no such things as fear and sin,
And you yourself - you have never been;
There is nothing at all but Me!"
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 dispensor 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.
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