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Vol. XXVII., No. 2 Hamilton, April 15th, 1946 Price 20 Cents
PRESIDENT JINARAJADASA'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS
Will you rise while I repeat the Invocation to the Great Ones made by Dr. Besant at the opening of Conventions:
May Those who are the embodiment of Love Immortal, bless with Their protection the Society established to do Their Will on earth; may They ever guard it by Their Power, inspire it with Their Wisdom and energize it with Their Activity.
I ask you to repeat in unison the "Golden Stairs," transmitted to us by H.P.B. from a Master of the Wisdom:
A clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual perception, a brotherliness for all, a readiness to give and receive advice and instruction, a courageous endurance of personal injustice, a brave declaration of principles, a valiant defence of those who are unjustly attacked, and a constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection which the Sacred Science depicts - these are the Golden Stairs up the steps of which the learner may climb to the Temple of Divine Wisdom.
My first and most pleasurable duty is to give my loving thanks to our Vice-President, my brother Sri Ram. He has assisted me in every conceivable way. He is one of the jewels of the Society. So far as I know, he is the wisest man among us all, not so much in detailed wisdom, but in the balanced judgement which he gives on all matters. (Loud applause). It is many years now that I have been associated with him, and I do not know how my work could have been done but for the fact that he has been such a loyal and helpful colleague.
The Theosophical Society, beginning with a small nucleus in 1875 in New York of 16 interested persons, is today a worldwide organization. Up to the outbreak of the war, the International Society was composed of 48 National Societies each with its own administration. Expositions of Theosophy were being given, here in India in ten languages, and in other parts of the world in twenty more. What binds us, of nearly all races and creeds, is an abiding eagerness to understand Every aspect of Truth, religious, scientific, philosophic and artistic, in order that, growing nobler in character, we may take part in the affairs of men so as to diminish little by little the sum total of human misery, ignorance and cruelty. We have been led in this task during the last seventy years by three Presidents of the Society, Henry Steele Olcott, Annie Besant and George Sydney Arundale. It is my duty, now, at your command, to lead you.
If Theosophy were a cut and dried philosophy statable in books and teachings, or originated by Teachers whom none must challenge, the Society would not have grown to be worldwide as it is today. Theosophy the Divine Wisdom as we possess it today is only that small body of Truth which underlies the everchanging facts, not only of our globe and of our Humanity, but of the whole Cosmos; we cannot, by any imagination conceive of even the greatest of Adepts knowing the complete Divine Wisdom which explains every problem of this vast Universe of a million million solar systems. But we have already received a part of the Wisdom from Adept Teachers in the past; they have given us the religions and the philosophies; we have yet to receive more, and how much more, what mind can say? We are receiving today new fragments of the Wisdom in what Science is discovering in every field of investigation; here and there we gain glimpses also in the creations of the great poets and artists of the world. We Theosophists possess to commence with a body of truths known as Theosophy; our greatest adventure in life is to discover more of Truth, for "There is no religion higher than Truth." And we hope to discover more, not for ourselves, but in order "to lift a little of the heavy Karma of the world."
In this search for Truth, there is none first and none last; all are equal and brothers, and the discoveries of all are needed for the full integration of Truth. It is because of that fact that I, as an individual Theosophist though President of the Society, can address you at this inaugural meeting, and outline to you along what lines I hope to discover with your aid new aspects of Theosophy, and how, with what we already know, and with what we shall know as the years pass, we can work together towards a fuller realization of our First Object, "To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color." We have already done much towards that realization; in some ways perhaps we are the only organization that has so far succeeded. But we need only look at the chaotic social and economic conditions of the world today, and the spirit of war inherent in them, to realize how much harder we all need to work in order to make Brotherhood a "living power" in our lives and in that of others.
In order to make the world better we have to understand the causes of its miseries. These were analyzed for us in 1881 by one of the greatest of the Adepts who is known by the title of Maha-Chohan. In a communication which He then sent to a leading Theosophist, Mr. A.P. Sinnett, the author of The Occult World, the Adept first pointed to contrasted conditions then existing, which still exist today. They are first, blind, ignorant religious superstition among the millions everywhere, who hope with prayers and offerings to escape the consequences of their sinning by propitiations of deities great and small; and secondly as its opposite, Materialism in all its forms, preaching the doctrine that man is only the body that perisheth, with no surviving consciousness whatsoever. These two manifestations of the human mind, exploited on the one side by priests of religion threatening the masses with divine wrath and especially with an eternal damnation hereafter, and on the other by the priests of science wiping out of human affairs all landmarks of morality and proclaiming in brief, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow ye die," have, says the Adept, created a situation where the struggle for existence has become keener than ever for all. There is a furious rush to crowd into one lifetime all that man craves of happiness; this is especially the case with the sceptical intellectual classes of
Francis Bacon, the Father of modern science, once dreamed that the future of science is "to endow the condition and life of man with new powers or works," and "to extend more widely the limits of the power and greatness of man." It is stupefying to contemplate how instead, the achievements of science which have enabled industry to provide for us ever new commodities and conveniences, have also year by year, as science has advanced, made the struggle for life more fratricidal. The strife between man and, man, even for mere subsistence, is keener today than it was a century ago; more millions are being exploited today by capital through the power created for it by science.
Now, those of us who have witnessed the devastation of two great world wars, and all of us who see what may be in store for humanity with the release of atomic power, realize that mankind's troubles are more deep-seated than ever. And we have to witness the tragic fact that the great religions, once a source of inspiration for all human problems, have failed mankind in this crisis. Religion has "by-passed" humanity, or if you will, humanity has "by-passed" religion.
It is in this situation that we Theosophists have a vital role to play; that role is no less a task than to diminish the ilitensity of struggle for all mankind. How is this superhuman task to be achieved?
This work is to be done by us by resuscitating in the religions a divine Truth as to man and God that has been so overlaid by the dust of ages as to be completely forgotten as a living factor in daily religious thought and conduct. We know that divine Truth well here in India in the proclamation of the sages that God and man are one, not two. Tat tvam asi, "THAT art thou" is still found written in the scriptures; but it is trampled underfoot by the human institutions which Hindu religion has created and sustained. What more ghastly denial of "THAT art thou" could there be than the treatment meted out throughout the ages to the outcaste Depressed Classes, now termed Harijans, the "children of God"? Changing the label has not changed the desecration of a divine Truth.
This same truth that God and man are one exists in some other religions also, but mostly as an esoteric doctrine. Said Jesus Christ, "I am the Vine, ye are the branches," "At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you." Said His greatest disciple, St. Paul, "Christ in you, the hope of Glory." Traditions of this wonderful revelation, that there is no eternal chasm between the nature of God and the nature of man, are found everywhere.
Thus in Buddhism also, as it is understood in Tibet, China and Japan, the same mystic truth is proclaimed. The teaching is given to all, that in each human exists a Bodhisattva Principle, so that each who desires to tread the Way of the Buddhas, necessitating heroic efforts life after life for hundreds of lives, in order to teach mankind the Great Law, can achieve the stupendous height of being a Tathagata, a Saviour of mankind, for Bodhi, Supreme Wisdom and Compassion, is at the root of his being.
It is by basing our work on this truth, the eternal Rock of Ages, that we Theosophists can help mankind. If I have the nature of God within me, if somewhere in the recesses of my heart and mind, I can see a Divine Light shining within me, and not external to me when I am engaged in religious worship under the guidance of priestly leaders and teachers, then it follows that Divine Happiness also resides within me. I am then not only "the Way, the Truth and the life," I am also the fount of Happiness. Convince men that the
fount of Happiness is within themselves, then little by little the struggle for life diminishes. What does it matter that I am poor, that I am ailing, that I am oppressed, if I have within me the key to open the Treasure House of Happiness? In daily life then, it is not what I earn that matters, not what I own which is the standard of worth; but what I am as pure and unsullied by greed, as charitable in heart and mind to all, as radiating friendship to bird, beast, tree, shrub and flower.
It is not an easy task to discover, in the words of St. Paul, "the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." It is to this task we are called. Divine Truth, Divine Beauty, Divine Tenderness, and every factor of hope and glory that is conveyed by the one word Mukti, or Nirvana, or Salvation, all these reside in ourselves. Could only men be aware of them, the search for their realization will be found as the only way to Happiness. We Theosophists have to instruct mankind as to this new way. It was said in China: "If you have two loaves, sell one and buy a lily." To possess a second loaf is only greed; but to contemplate the beauty of a lily is to realize that the lily's beauty, as all other forms of beauty, are in myself too. It was said in Japan, when one's life is so utterly desperate as sometimes it was when your feudal lord ordered you to commit hara-kiri - or as sometimes when the course of true love for two lovers is crossed by fate, and suicide seems the only way out of undiminishable misery, then, said the Japanese sage, "Do not weep; you are but reaping the Karma of a past life; but make a graceful exist; create out of your tragedy an exquisite poem, and leave it on the bank before you drown yourself; perform your hara-kiri in the midst of friends to the music of doleful chants, and in a ceremony that has dignity." You see the main theme in these strange doctrines of China and Japan: it is not outward circumstances that matter, but one's reaction to them.
I do not want to give the impression that I would advise anyone to commit suicide to escape from his troubles. An understanding of the facts concerning life after death shows that to commit suicide is to "fly out of the frying pan into the fire," for however keen is the suffering while alive yet it is to some extent deadened by the physical brain. When free of that brain which offers a resistance to the acuteness of suffering, he who commits suicide feels far more keenly the edge of his sufferings. I have quoted the advice of the Japanese sage only to illustrate the point that life must be creative of truth and beauty not only when we are happy, but also when we are in the profoundest misery.
To create intense happiness from within our souls, such a happiness as will compensate us for the hardships of life - that is the lesson that we Theosophists have to learn, and to teach. The magic phrase, "Open Sesame," lies in that one word, Create. Even a child knows its secret; see how busy he is with his mud or sand, or the puddle in the gutter; we say he is playing. No, he is creating; he is reaching out into the recesses of being, and rejoicing that he can do something that gives him joy. So too, we can all learn to create. Every poet creates, for the word means one who fashions; every artist is as a crucible into which is poured the mingled dross of life's transient happinesses and miseries, and he melts and transmutes them in the fire of his imagination, and bodies forth a work of art that is for a while not alone his own Mukti or Salvation, but makes young men see visions and old men dream dreams of their eternal joy and salvation.
It was said by Solomon about the
Wisdom; "sweetly doth she order all things." Wisdom is a power. It is for this reason that Theosophy is not an intellectual philosophy, but a generating station of power. Each Theosophical lodge should become a power-plant generating ideas, especially the ideas which the world needs today to lessen the struggle for existence. Take for instance, the most powerful and dynamic idea which we Theosophists have as our "marching orders" - the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity. Only imagine a world peopled in the majority with men and women who not only believe but have discovered the joys inherent in that principle; would a man or woman then care to ask to what race another belongs, to what God he or she bends the knee? The one joyous truth which the stranger brings with him is then: "You are my brother, I am your brother." How could wars ever arise in such a civilization? How could poverty exist as contrasted with callous luxury? These human evils, the source of the struggle for existence, disappear, as the morning mists disappear with the rising of the sun.
Suppose in addition, every Theosophist in every Theosophical Lodge were to say softly to himself as he meets friend or stranger, "THAT art thou, the Vision of God that I seek, the goal of Mukti which I long for, art thou." All the Theosophical studies then are a mere accompaniment, an elaboration in harmonies, of the glorious chant of Unity which rings throughout the universe linking angel and man, beast and plant, in one joyous embrace.
Imagine too Theosophical Lodges not only studying the Wisdom in books, but also trying to express what they know in poems and songs; holding study classes not to study "teachings," but to teach the newcomer the art of creating out of the experiences which he has had in life some glimpses of truth about his own Divine Self, and too about the nature of those Fragments of that Divine Self who are the men, the women, and the children around him. The word Theosophist then undergoes a change; it signifies not one who belongs to a Society, but one who has learned how, as did once upon a time the sages in India, to create new hymns of New Vedas, in singing which the world of the Angels joins with the world of men; to create statutes as did Phidias and Praxiteles in Greece to contemplate which gave the utmost solace to every troubled heart; to paint pictures as did Turner, showing in the colors of the sky "the light that never was on land or sea"; to create dances in looking at which we gain a far away glimpse of the Cosmic Rhythm in which all creation moves.
Think too of the Theosophist as one who notes the outline and tint of every leaf, of every feather, marvelling at the transcendent workmanship of the Demiurgos, the Divine Artificer; as one who gazes at each flower as a window into another Land where exist for him adventure after adventure in love and life; think of him supremely as one who looks at the faces of children, each as a sentence with a new message that Goodness, Truth and Beauty are one, and that though God when embodied as man or woman is dazzling in beauty, there is another order of Divine Beauty to dazzle the heart and mind in a child's face.
My Brothers, helped by the Teachers and their teachings of the past, we must create new Wisdoms, new Theosophies, so that we are known not as the professors of a creed, not as the followers of teachers, but as men and women busy, strenuously, but also with the sense of joy, creating new ways of happiness for mankind. Then shall men little by little discover that the Kingdom of Righteousness, the Garden of Happiness, are within their own hearts and minds; then will they cease to clamber and
struggle for outer delights; for how then should a man delve into the depths of the earth to find jewels, when in his own hand is the key to the Treasure House of all jewels possible?
It is in these new ways that we who are pledged to the work of the Theosophical Society must work "to lift a little of the heavy Karma of the world." Each of us bears a torch to show the path to Happiness for others.
A time will come, though you and I will see it only in our next incarnation, when the curses called competition and the struggle for life, which dog the footsteps of mankind today, will have been as evil dreams of the night. You and I are working to create that new day's light and that happiness for all, when there shall be no distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color; when men know and rejoice in the only supreme fact of their immortal life as Souls, as gravity is the supreme fact of their earthly bodies, that Happiness is within themselves, that the Way to Salvation starts from their own hearts, and that they need no temple or priest or book to show them the road. For they will have discovered that the Way, the Truth, the Life and the Joy are inseparable from the essential nature of every man, woman and child.
My Brothers, we shall succeed in our stupendous task. We shall achieve our dream. For we work, but not alone. With us stand the Great Saviours of the World who have gone before us. Their Blessing is with us; Their Strength will uphold us, as, in Their name and for the love of mankind, we go forth into the world to lessen the load of human misery. - Adyar, February 17.
BOOKS ON THEOSOPHICAL SUBJECTS
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The following Proclamation was adopted at the Annual Convention in 1897:
The Theosophical Society in America, by its Delegates and Members in Convention assembled, does hereby proclaim fraternal goodwill and kindly feeling towards all students of Theosophy and, members of Theosophical Societies, wherever and however situated.
It further proclaims and avers its hearty sympathy and association with such persons and organizations in all Theosophical matters, except those of Government and Administration, and invites their correspondence and cooperation.
To all men and women of whatever Caste, Creed, Race or Religious Belief, whose intentions aim at the fostering of peace, gentlness and unselfish regard one for another, and the acquisition of such knowledge of Man and Nature as shall tend to the elevation and advancement of the Human Race, it sends most friendly greeting and freely proffers its services.
It joins hands with all Religions and Religious Bodies whose effort is directed to the purification of men's thoughts and the bettering of their ways, and avows its harmony therewith.
To all Scientific Societies and individual searchers after Wisdom, upon whatever plane and by whatever righteous means pursued, it is and twill be grateful for such discovery and unfoldment of Truth as shall serve to announce and confirm A Scientific Basis for Ethics.
And lastly, it invites to its membership all those, who seeking a higher life hereafter, would learn to know the path to tread in this.
Strange things are said about authority. People have even said that they do not believe in authority, that they must experience things for themselves. That is true, no doubt, if we adopt a rather adverse definition of what we mean by authority; but the setting of authority and experience as antitheses of one another is not valid in all cases.
Some time ago a lady wrote me several letters, running in the aggregate to about eighty pages of close writing. She did not believe in authority, and she had written to me in the first instance because she felt that I had misrepresented the views of Mr. Krishnamurti in a book which I had published but in which I had not mentioned that gentleman's name nor intended any allusion to him. I replied that I understood that even Mr. Krishnamurti consulted the authority of railway time tables and dictionaries from time to time, and that she could not therefore justly use him as her authority for the rejection of authority. In practical life there cannot be for any of us a repudiation of the fact of authority. When I learned to drive a car, I did not dream of repudiating the authority of the person who taught me and insisting on learning by experience alone.
In everyday life our problem is rather to discover who or what is for us, at a given time, a valid authority, who can give us hints that best assist us to the next step in our own developing experience. Individually we know that we do not stand at the final summit of life nor do we spin the whole texture of life out of our own entrails. For each of us there is always a beyond. In every respect, too, there is always somebody or something standing ahead of us, on the frontier of our beyond, somebody or something in whom we recognize a greater than ourselves, even if it is only in some very limited and insignificant respect. And we call that somebody or something an authority.
Yet, though we can reduce to absurdity people's unqualified denials of authority, the rejection of authority is based on an idea which the great mystics have declared to be profoundly true. It is based on the conception that there is only one Self, that each of us is that Self and that that Self is each of us, and there is none other than He. If that be true, then everything occurs within that Self, which is for each of us our own only true Self; so all experience is subjective, and nothing exists unless I think it so. Therefore I, the one Self, am the only authority and I receive nothing from outside me because there is nothing outside me.
It is one of those conceptions which the philosopher may grasp while sitting meditating in his study but which he must deny in action the moment he walks out of his study. In practice we know that truth is as much objective as subjective. We are quite sure that "truth" goes on being "true" even when we ourselves are not there to "experience" it, that the clock goes on ticking when we are not there to hear it, that Greenland exists even though we have never been there, that somebody else's logarithmic tables will serve us correctly even though we ourselves have not compiled them. Even if we can see all this as an illusion, we act with complete confidence in the laws of illusion.
The conception that everything is a manifestation of one Self who is his own true Self cannot become really true for the philosopher while he grasps it with his mind alone. It does not become wholly true until he knows it as true with his whole nature; and, short of that, his conception is only a speculation, though perhaps a very illuminating speculation. To demand that the results of that speculation must be systematically applied to the circumstances of everyday life before the conception has
passed from speculation into real experience is to try to short-circuit life and reality in a way that nature does not tolerate.
But all this is generalization. What about particular instances? The case of learning to drive a car is not a bad one. We certainly submit to authority on such an occasion. But the significant fact is that that authority to become complete, has to go hand in hand with direct individual experience. Authority alone cannot teach us to drive the car. Authority can tell us the manner of moving the gear lever and letting in the clutch, but we have then to go ahead and find out by experince that this procedure is true and effective. In fact, all that authority alone can say to us is, "Try this idea first." That indeed is all that a theosophical book or teacher can do for us. It is something to be tried out in action, for only thus can we "know of the doctrine whether it be of God."
In perfect authority (or in perfect experience) both authority and experience are one. To be complete, authority implies experience, and experience implies authority. The Silence implies the Voice and the Voice implies the Silence. There is a passage in Mrs. Besant's little book, The Doctrine of the Heart, which expresses this authority-experience, this objective-subjective unity which is to be found in the complete revelation or reception of a truth: - "Master's words, however much they may be opposed to one's previous thoughts, never fail to bring the most absolute conviction, alike to the intellect and to the moral sense of the person addressed. They come like a revelation, rectifying an error which becomes at once apparent; they stream down like a column of light dispelling the gloom; they make no claim on credulity or blind faith." The Master does not speak merely as an authority from without but speaks also as assimilated experience from within us, through his complete identity with our very Selves; thus, however much the communication may be obscured by personal factors after its delivery, it is perfect in its completeness and appropriateness at the instant of delivery.
This solving of the duality of the apparent opposites of authority and experience, in the perfect revelation or reception of truth, has its equivalent in the solution of many apparent conflicts in metaphysics and theology. Take, for example, the closely related conflict of the doctrines of free will and predestination. These two teachings - first that man is free to do as he chooses, and, secondly, that his whole course of existence is predetermined - seem to me to be capable of being recognized, when viewed from a certain level of understanding, as not contradictory but complementary, two aspects of a single truth which has its being in the unity of Self. Both doctrines are true inclusively. Neither is true exclusively. We find a recognition of their unity with one another in the aphorism of the German metaphysician who declared that "freedom consists in submitting oneself to necessity." We find it in the words of the Anglican prayer book in the reference to a Deity "in Whose service is perfect freedom."
How does such a view of the complementary character of authority and experience apply to the Theosophical Society? On the one hand, the Society is the repository of various teachings which have a distinctly authoritarian character, and, on the other hand, the Society offers freedom of thought and expression to all its members. In many cases teachings propounded by leading members of the Society have not been demonstrated by argument but have been given as from "gnostics," as from people who knew, and one can take them or leave them. They refer in many cases to matters about which relatively
few people can, at the present time, have direct experience. What can be our attitude towards them?
An attitude is to some extent defined by the very nature of those teachings, for, no matter from whom they have come, they have all asserted, in effect, 'that "the soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit." If, indeed, we are to fare into such a future, then every authority has only a passing validity. A particular authority or teachings may last for a vast period of time, lying there challenging us with the question as to whether or not it is true; but, some time, we must bring even to the highest authority that other half of knowledge which we call experience, and then the authority ceases to exist as a thing outside ourselves.
Thus, since theosophical teachings imply a dynamic and changing universe and declare by implication that every expression of truth, however sublime, will in time become inappropriate or be completely outgrown as we enter into the experience of the truth itself, there can be no theosophical Thirty-Nine Articles or Westminster Confession or Papal Infallibility. So, however freedom of opinion may from time to time be abused, theosophists do at least try, according to their lights, to preserve it among themselves. Whatever particular beliefs or views they hold, they have to accept, with regard to other and conflicting views, the principle of Jefferson - that dissenters should be left undisturbed "as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated."
In fact, in theosophical circles, as everywhere else, authority has to remain questioning us, until that other half of itself, which we call experience, catches up on it. Mrs. Besant once expressed this in a vivid simile when she said, "Truth is seen the moment that, in climbing up the mountain-side of knowledge, you reach a point where that truth becomes visible to your eyes. What would you think of a man who, pointing to the mountain-side, before he would allow you to climb up it, said, `You must believe that when you reach half way up you will see such and such a town on the plain below.'?" Our gnostics and mystics are indeed right to tell us what they see from the higher point which they have reached or claim to have reached on the mountain-side. But we should be wrong to believe that we can use their authority alone to jump to the end of their train of experience without using our own experience to take the intervening steps. When we attempt to do that and use an authority to evade experience, then the famous and rather resented words of Mr. Krishnamurti - "Your masters are your exploiters" - becomes indeed true. If we use the authority of others merely to try to steal the results of their experience without earning it in terms of our own experience, it is a futile dishonesty, and we become exploiters and exploited persons, receiving an empty shell and believing that is the solid stuff of life.
There are certain words that we have long been using rather loosely in theosophical connections. Among these are the words "occult" and "esoteric". A deeper understanding of their implications is necessary for an understanding of the nature of the highest kind of authority.
A truly occult or esoteric teaching is not one that can be expressed in words nor even one which, though it could be expressed, is actually kept secret. For example, when Mr. Leadbeater has written that certain forms are built and certain forces released in subtler matter by the performance of certain ceremonies, that is not in the strict sense esoteric teaching. It has become exoteric, and I can test it by questioning other clairvoyants or using my own
faculties. An authority is set up, and it remains to be seen whether or not my experience can catch up with that authority and make it completely true for me.
But what I should regard as the truly esoteric communication of teaching is such a communication as is described in the quotation, earlier in this article, about the words of the Master. In that case authority and experience are simul-taneous, and, though there may be words, the real language is unspoken and the meaning lies beyond the words. It is a language which mystic can speak only to mystic or the Master to the disciple who, in some measure, stands "in the presence of the Masters." An esoteric school is not one in which things are taught which might be given out to the world but are deliberately kept secret, though such a school may have such teachings. An esoteric school is one in which communications take place which have the perfect blend of authority and experience and which, by their very nature, cannot be communicated to outsiders in familiar terms. By its very nature, the validity of such a communication can be known only by the person who receives it and for whom it can have meaning only by the very fact of his higher development.
Often occultism and mysticism have been spoken of as being in contrast to one another. That is no doubt true if we define our terms in certain ways. But, as I understand the two, occultism cannot live without mysticism. Mysticism is the process by which a particular self knows his identity with the Universal Self. Emerson has written of the greatest mystics as having "an access to the secrets and structure of nature by some method higher than experience." Is that "method" not identity? The mystic or yogi, who has completed his course within the "ring-pass-not" of a particular world, has become one with everything within that world. The self and the not-self have become one, and the duality of authority and experience ceases to be. The speculation of the philosopher has become the experienced reality of the mystic.
- Hugh Shearman.
GLIMPSES OF FELIX BELCHER
Any attempt to recall my childhood invariably calls forth memories involving Felix Belcher, much loved and respected friend of my father. Mr. Belcher and father were actively interested in many similar movements and consequently I was frequently contacting the former in our home, and at various types of gatherings. "Whither thou goest I will go." evidently was the case so far as my fond parent was concerned, for I trailed him relentlessly. On occasions it became evident that the intrusion of a youngster evoked annoyance, but never on the part of Mr. Belcher. As was later discovered, he reacted to all such irritating manifestations of Karma with the same equanimity.
One of my earliest recollections of our friend is of watching him at Quaker Meeting, sitting amazingly still, and of vaguely wondering how much an animated and full-of-fun person could possibly remain motionless for so long. After what, to me, seemed endless silence, the Spirit moved him to speak - and somehow I sensed his conviction. It was noted that he did not stumble for words, and that his voice lacked undue emotional quaver. I decided to like Mr. Belcher. What he was prompted to say appears to have left no impression whatever upon my mind, but in all probability he was stirred to express ideas, specifically theosophic, for by then he had been a member of the Theosophical Society for quite some time. In any event, it has since been learned that a great many Friends appreciated the beautiful simplicity of his character and admired his keen and exceptionally well informed mind.
With due respect to the memory of my father (who faced so-called death some twenty years ago with the same calm spirit manifested recently by his friend, Felix) I do feel that, like so many people, he was inclined, perhaps, to over estimate the necessity and importance of an academic background. Otherwise, I ask myself, why did he never cease to marvel at Mr. Belcher's extraordinary fund of knowledge, obtained, for the most part, without the assistance of formal education? In recent years, while discussing one of the fundamental principles of Quakerism Mr. Belcher remarked: "But please remember that you were a Birthright member of Friends, whereas I was one by adoption only." However, he very often referred to the fact that his association with the Hicksite Friends (not to be confused with the more churchy ones who employ a minister) had influenced his life profoundly. That influence, one feels, still permeates the atmosphere of Toronto West End Lodge of The Theosophical Society, which he formed in 1911, and which, I have reason to believe, was exceedingly close to his heart.
The Devotional side of our friend's nature has been stressed, simply because some students who knew him, perchance, only as a brilliant lecturer on scientific subjects, or as a teacher of the Secret Doctrine, may tend to imagine that his approach was entirely along the Path of Gnana Yoga. Certainly, for the past fourteen years, during my association with him as a student of Theosophy, he particularly emphasized intensive Secret Doctrine study as a deliberate Occult Method of developing the Intuition. Nevertheless, how well he realized that Wisdom is the synthesis of Knowledge, Action, Love! -which brings to mind the following lines from The Prophet: "All urge is blind save when there is knowledge. And all knowledge is vain save when there is work. And all work is empty save when there is love."
Mr. Belcher, one gathers, was interested in so many movements that even to list them fully would involve too much space. Evidently, he and my father (before I was born) had some connection with a movement, inspired by Edward Bellamy's book, Looking Backward. And that, I think, is significant. He was active in an exceptionally worthwhile People's Open Forum, definitely international in character. The Single Tax of Henry George seems always to have occupied a certain amount of attention. And, if I remember correctly, he was active in the Friends of India Society when efforts were being made to secure civil rights for Natives of India, residing on the West coast of Canada. The Adult School Movement, a seemingly progressive effort, was another activity, but my recollection of the movement is so vague that to gather sufficient exact information would have necessitated, I feel, an undue expenditure of time and energy. The important point here, it appears to me, is that Felix Belcher took seriously what H.P. Blavatsky set forth in The Key to Theosophy regarding Practical Theosophy and that he tried his best to act accordingly.
The tendency in human nature to resent change seems seldom to have hampered the one I knew as friend, teacher, and fellow-student. For example, during the early stages of our group study Mr. Belcher assumed the role of Teacher. But, at a later period when it was agreed to study the Secret Doctrine cooperatively, the role was promptly and deftly laid aside, and he became "Felix" to us, a member of the group. The last time he visited our home I tried to convey something of our love and gratitude for his patience, careful guidance, and for those years of creative, cooperative investigation when the S.D. was studied "topically".
As was so typical of his character, he lightly turned the tables by insisting that it was we who had helped to provide him with one of the happiest and most valuable experiences of his life.
Freedom from clinging to a form, when once he was convinced it had served its purpose, is revealed by the facility with which he could accept NEW forms - religious, economic, political, social, scientific, cultural or Educational. Not only could he accept, but, apparently he possessed the abiltiy to adapt himself to them with all the enthusiasm of Youth.
The other day I discovered between the pages of The Secret Doctrine a scrap on which appear some lines in the hand writing of Felix Belcher. I pass them on, not that they merit, from a literary standpoint, any special attention, but simply that they may serve a more useful purpose here. For me, and doubtless for others who knew him equally well, behind the following lines can be glimpsed the joyous, dauntless spirit of one who strove persistently to Live in terms of the Soul:
"And does the road wind uphill all the way?
You'll find that out.
And may a man get sandbagged any day?
Beyond a doubt.
And are there hidden pitfalls here and there?
We find it so.
And no one safe upon it anywhere?
At this stage, NO.
Not even when the distant top is reached?
There is no top.
Or when a stopping place is gained at last?
There is no stop.
But do we never see someone we know?
A few we've met before.
And do we recognize them when we do?
We love or hate them more.
And shall we never know them certainly?
Yes, so they say.
And jog along with them for company?
We hope we may.
Knowing all this why do you not turn back?
It can't be done.
But what will happen if one jumps the track?
He's put back on.
But will not it get easier than now?
We drop some load.
What do they call this old road anyhow?
The Evolutionary Road."
- Ruth Somers.
WORTH WHILE BOOKS
- Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine by Madame Blavatsky;
- The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence by H.P. B.;
- Magic White and Black by Franz Hartmann;
- The Perfect Way, by Anna B. Kingsford;
- The Ocean of Theosophy and Notes on the Bhagavad Gita by Wm. Q. Judge;
- Reincarnation by E.D. Walker;
- The Light of Asia, by Edwin Arnold;
- Light on the Path and Through the Gates of Gold, by Mabel Collins;
- Letters that Have Helped Me, by Wm. Q. Judge;
- Raja Yoga, a collection of articles by H.P.B.;
- The Mahatma Letters, by Two Masters.
One of the privileges of living in the Twentieth century is the opportunity of allying oneself with the Theosophical Movement originated by the Elder Brothers of the Race, and of making a conscious link, however slender, with them. Join any Theosophical Society which maintains the traditions of the Masters of Wisdom and study their Secret Doctrine. You can strengthen the link you make by doing service, by strong search, by questions, and by humility. We should be able to build the future on foundations of Wisdom, Love and Justice.
A TRIBUTE TO H.P.B.
By Willian Q. Judge
H.P.B. had a lion heart, and on the work traced out for her, she had a lion's grasp.
Let us, her friends and disciples, sustain ourselves in carrying out the designs laid down on the trestle board, by the memory of her devotion and the consciousness that behind her task there stood, and still remains, those Elder Brothers who, above the clatter and the din of our battle, ever see the end, and direct the forces distributed in array for the salvation of that great orphan - Humanity.
H.P.B. born August 12, 1831 - died May 8, 1891.
SYMBOLOGY OF THE LOTUS
Lotus is a name given to various flowers including several beautiful specimens of water lilies, especially the blue water lily and the Egyptian water lily which grows in the South of Asia and North Africa. The Egyptian water lily grows in the Nile and adjacent rivulets and has a large white flower. The root is eaten by the people who live near the lake ManJaleh. It was called the rose of ancient Egypt, the favorite flower of the country and was often made into wreaths and garlands.
The Lotus flower is a sacred symbol of nearly all Eastern philosophies. It is a flower sacred to nature and her Gods and represents the abstract and the concrete Universes, standing as the emblem of the productive powers of both the spiritual and physical nature. It has an important and significant meaning attached to its formation and growth. The lotus blossom was the first flower to bloom in Lemuria, the home of the first man. In that ancient continent, lost for thousands of years, the lotus was used as a symbol. The newly bud was a symbol of power and prosperity - the full bloom floating on the water with the petals turned in at the edges was the symbol of the dying power of that continent.
Chinese gods and oriental Buddhas are formed sitting on the blossom pf the lotus and some Hindu gods are seen wearing strange hats made to represent the lotus flower upside down - in fact, all oriental gods are so depicted. The symbology these formations indicate is the opening within themselves of spiritual consciousness and the unfolding of that spiritual consciousness within. With the Hindus the lotus is the emblem of the productive power of nature through the agency of fire and water, which represents spirit and matter. In India, the lotus is also a symbol of the fruitful earth.
In ancient Egypt, the lotus was believed to have produced its own kind and the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was based on this belief; but later years, the discovery was made of the lotus being of dual sex.
The lotus blossom is of various colors produced by the environment of its growth - the paler shades being the female and the darker hues, the male plant.
The blue lotus is very beautiful and blooms at night. It is called the night lotus and its fragrance is more accentuated than the fragrance of the rose.
Quotation from The Pilgrim Karmanita - by Karl Gjellerup (a Hindu):
"As I carefully guided my horse between the tree trunks, I was welcomed by the splendid odor of the blossoms of the night lotus, which rose to greet me from the ancient Krishna pond."
Another symbol of the lotus is called the Paradise Bud.
For all who have the courage to despise the earthly, and to fix their thoughts upon that place of bliss called The Paradise of Infinite Light, there waits a pure birth from the blossoms of a lotus flower.
The first craving for that Paradise,
uses a bud to appear in the holy waters of the crystal seas. Every pure thought, every good deed, causes it to grow and develop; while all evil committed in thought, word or deed, grows like a worm within it and brings it near to withering away.
The fact that the lotus plant grows up through the water, having its roots in the mud and spreading its flower in the air, typifies the life of man and also that of the Kosmos, for we are taught that the elements of both are the same and both are developing in the same direction.
The root of the lotus sunk in mud represents material life; the stalks passing up through the water typifies existence in the Astral world, and the flower floating on the water and opening to the sky is emblematical of Spiritual Being.
When the lotus blossom has reached maturity, it drops its seeds and from the seed new plants are produced. Similarly, within the spiritual consciousness when the plant is finished and its work is done, it is released to work and produce other things.
In the Western World, the lotus has been changed to the Rose - The Roses of the Rosicrucian, The Roses of the Masonic degrees and also those of the Order of the Garter in England - all stand for the same thing.
The awakening of the Spiritual Consciousness and the unfolding into full bloom - the Soul qualities of man. When man awakens and opens this bud within himself, he finds like the golden pollen in the flower, this wonderful Spiritual Consciousness which frees him from the wheel of bondage and limitations.
"As a drop of water moves on the leaf of the lotus; thus, thus, more slippery is human life. The company of the virtuous endures here but a moment; that is the vehicle to bear thee over land and ocean." - Vedas.
- Winifred Tiplin.
Edmonton, May 9, 1945.
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
The Theosophist, Adyar, for March 1946 has an editorial by the Vice-President on "Our New President". Among other things he dilates on the election, and to quote "Many members have probably not actively exercised their membership, because of the feeling that since there is only one nominated candidate he must inevitably become the president and the casting of votes is a needless formality. This view has been carried to such an extent by the Canadian General Secretary and his Executive that they have not even sent out the voting papers to the members of their Section. I have had officially to point out to them the unconstitutionality of this decision, because whether in the circumstances the election is necessary or not our Rules are clear and give us no option. The relevant portion of Rule 10 of the Rules of the Society runs as follows: `The Recording Secretary shall communicate the, nominations to the General Secretaries . . .Each General Secretary shall take the individual vote of each of the voter-members of his Section . . and shall communicate the result to the Recording Secretary.' Until the Rule is changed, which it is in the power of the General Council to do by the adoption of the prescribed procedure, it is binding on all officers and members." My explanation is that not having assimilated the Constitution having but recently assumed the status of a General Secretary I exercised my judgment and commonsense as I thought in assuming that it would be a waste of time and money to have an election when there was but one candidate in the field. Apparently I was wrong. For this I have already made the amende honourable and apologized to the Recording Secretary. `Ignorance of the law is no excuse for crime', of that I am well aware. But on reading
the above quoted Rule 10 I still think the average person would have done as I did, for to me the crux of that Rule lies in the word "nominations". It is in the plural and does not take care of a case when there is but one nomination thus, this unforseen emergency having arisen are we supposed to follow the rule slaviously? This is where I think "The Letter killeth but the Spirit giveth Life", and where one should be expected to exercise his discretion and judgment. But according to Adyar the Constitution is as unalterable as the Laws of the Medes and Persians. Hine illae lacrymae.
Mr. Gokhale, the Recording Secretary has sent me a request to circularize the Lodges with a view to their submitting through me a List of Members who have fallen in the war; that is to say (1) Those who have been killed in action, (2) Those who have died in Concentration Camps, or by cruelty or starvation, or other causes due to enemy action. The idea is to prepare a Roll of Honor for the whole of the Theosophical Society. The information sent in should give the names and a short note about details of their heroism. This will eventually be bound in a "Golden Book" and preserved in the Adyar Archives. All Secretaries please note and forward to me the necessary details, if their respective Lodges are interested.
Subscribers and admirers of our magazine should look to it that their dues are paid to date and donations if any, attended to promptly because funds for the maintenance of that publication are at a very low ebb. This magazine with its high reputation and standing is a most valuable asset to the Canadian Society and it would be nothing short of calamitous if it were to be curtailed or perhaps cease publication for want of funds. It takes time for a person taking over a new office to get acquainted with the ropes and it is but now I am really able to have a good look around. I am concerned with the number of subscribers who are in arrears. Last September I sent out a batch of cards advising of the lapse of subscriptions. Quite a few of these are still unanswered, consequently they have been definitely struck off the Mailing List and I am afraid there will be quite a few more to follow if the small but necessary payments do not materialize. Verb. Sap.
Adyar officially informed me of the Nomination of Mr. Sidney A. Cook as Vice-President of the Society and I have formally voted my approval of same. Mr. Cook has done good work in the past and with his business acumen and Theosophical understanding should be a decided asset to the Society in that office.
In the February "Office Notes" our Editor stated among other things the possibility of having to sacrifice his library and thereby the editorship owing to financial reasons. This has caused general concern and I have had many solicitous enquiries as to the actual situation. I am glad to state that I can put these kind enquirers at ease by assuring them that on my visit to A.E.S.S. at his home a few weeks ago, where I had to exercise extreme caution owing to his natural reticence on such matters and his Irish temperament, I was thoroughly convinced that there is no cause for alarm as, owing to certain changes in the family set-up he is quite able and happy to carry on as heretofore. I feel sure his numerous readers and friends will be glad of this information.
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
Albert Smythe, 5 Rockwood Place, Hamilton. Ont.
Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
Washington E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C.
David B. Thomas, 64 Strathearn Ave., Montreal West, Que.
George I. Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Avenue, Toronto, Ont.
Emory P. Wood, 12207 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, Alta.
Lt.-Col E.L. Thomson, D.S.O., 54 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
To whom all payments should be made, and all official communications addressed
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist
Albert E.S. Smythe, 5 Rockwood Place, Hamilton, Ont., To whom all letters to the Editor, articles and reports for publication should be sent.
Printed by the Griffin & Richmond Printing Co., Ltd., 29 Rebecca Street, Hamilton, Ontario
White Lotus Day falls on May 8, so that we are either a week or two late with an appropriate article, or a week or two early if we print in April. We have decided to be in time this year.
"The Somerset Giants", the article we copied last month from the English Country Life, is by Col. Harwood Steele, brother of Miss Flora Steele of the Montreal Lodge, who, with her mother, Lady Steele, and her whole family is interested in this marvellous structure of 2700 B.C.
Few subjects are less correctly understood than "Authority" and we are fortunate in being able to present the fine essay on the subject by the brilliant young Irish writer, Hugh Shearman,
Ph.D., T.C.D. Theosophists need to understand Authority as much as any body of seekers and Dr. Shearman is a Theosophist who can think.
Isolated students and those unable to have access to Theosophical literature should avail themselves of the Travelling Library conducted by the Toronto Theosophical Society. There are no charges except for postage on the volumes loaned. For particulars write to the Librarian, 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ont.
Ruth Somers knew Felix Belcher from her childhood, but she had the advantage also of knowing her father, Greenwood Brown, her mother, and her Aunt Courtice, a remarkable family group which wielded as much moral and spiritual influence in Toronto as any other half-dozen. Mrs. Somers, who is a daughter-in-law of Toronto's popular City Clerk, has a talented family of her own, a real mother in Israel.
There is a great dread of another war abroad in the world. Great nations and small appear to be making more preparations for war than for peace. What is there to fear about war? Death? There were more deaths at home through traffic accidents than at the front. Karma is the law of nations as well as of individuals. Karma weighs the stars in its balance, and threads the net of the spider.
Col. Arthur L. Conger, the new Leader of the Covina Theosophical Society gives evidence that he is not to be outdone in activity by any of his predecessors. Besides editing The Forum he is issuing a Headquarters Bulletin which is one of the most attractive publications of the sort we have seen. A feature is a letter or despatch from a prominent overseas member in each issue, thus illustrating the international character of the movement.
Col. Conger has appointed Major Schoonmaker president of the American section of the Covina organization.
Fifty years ago William Quan Judge laid down his outworn garb of flesh, and in the great industrial and military world of today he is an almost unknown quantity. But his writings cannot be ignored. They deal with the eternal things, that are unseen, but felt in every sensitive heart. The lost words of Life are familiar on his lips. The true words of action are household words for his readers. He did not pour out reams of psychic speculation and fantasy. All his collected writings will go into a comparatively small volume. Such a volume is now being prepared by the Covina group, and Mr. C.J. Ryan is attending to the biographical sketch that is to accompany it. To know Judge was to gain a lesson in loyalty. Only a traitor heart could fail in his service, for it was the certain service of the Master. His call was a summons to the everlasting felicity of work for humanity.
THE NEW VICE-PRESIDENT
President Jinarajadasa announces that Under Rule 11 (a) , I nominate for the office of Vice-President of the Society, Mr. Sidney A. Cook.
Mr. Cook is 59 years old. He joined the Society in 1914, and has acted as National President of the American Section for 14 years, from 1931 to 1945. He has not only very great executive ability, but is also a lecturer, though his executive work has kept him confined closely to the American Headquarters. Mr. Cook retired last year from an important position in business as Vice-President and Secretary of the Diamond T Motor Car Company, the eighth largest company in the United States for motor trucks, and all his Theosophical work for the Section was done either before or after office hours, on Sundays and holidays as well. The abilities of Mr. Cook regarding his business capabilities are attested first by the Board of Directors of the Dimond T Motor Car Company in the following words:
"Mr. Cook resigns from activity in the company's management to devote
[[ Photo here: MR. SIDNEY A. COOK The New Vice-President at Adyar]]
his time to the international work of the Theosophical Society, of which he was until recently the national head. He continues as a vice-president of Diamond T on occasional service and as a member of the board of directors."
I request you to record your vote as early as possible, sending the answer direct to me. Yours sincerely,
- C. Jinarajadasa.
FUNERAL SERVICE FOR MR. BELCHER - MR. BARR PRESIDING
We have assembled this afternoon to pay our last outer tribute of love and respect to one whom we knew here in the flesh as Felix Belcher.
Mr. Belcher became a member of the Theosophical Society in 1897 and in the fifty years since then he labored wholeheartedly for the cause of Theosophy here in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada. Its principles and teachings were inscribed upon his heart and even during his last short illness he maintained his interest, asking questions about the classes and lectures and planning for work which he knew would not be undertaken until some time later.
He faced death with the calm assurance of a man whose whole life meditation was of the soul, its nature, purpose and its glorious destiny. He quietly and calmly discussed the funeral arrangements and when I suggested that the service be held in the Hall, he said "I'd like that very much. I'd like it for my own sake and also for the sake of the Hall, because I think it is a good thing for the Hall to be associated with all aspects of life."
I know that he would not like me to attempt an eulogy of his life - and it is unnecessary for there is an eulogy now, one more beautiful than can be expressed in word; it is the fragrance which rises from your memories and mine of his many acts of kindliness, of thoughtfulness and words of sympathy and encouragement to all who travel along the old, old path stretching far away, and upon which he is a fellow traveller with us. Those fragrances from our memories are mingling here in the Hall this afternoon and you and I are partaking in a holy communion as we together pay our last respects to his life, and he passes forward, into life more abundant.
Our service will consist of readings from the great scriptures of the world relating to the Soul of Man and to the initiation of Death. Before these are read, Mrs. Newcombe will read a short poem which Mr. Belcher especially requested should be read on this occasion.
The leaves, the shadows fall; the end
Of our long sojourn's drawing near;
We'll kindle one more bonfire, friend,
To burn the dross of many a year.
These crumbling walls, and rafters low,
Soon they shall be forsaken quite,
And a far journey we shall go,
And we must travel light!
Strange hoards we bring from attics gray!
The dusty dreams of wealth and fame
That long ago we hid away,
At last we fling into the flame.
Old wrongs, still craving for redress,
Old feuds - how slowly they ignite;
The fumes are acrid! None the less,
We too shall travel light.
Fling in the wayward will of youth,
Fling in the final arrogance,
Fling in, without one rueful glance,
The hard, clear formula of Truth
Whereby we meted blame and praise;
They have grown dim, that shone so bright!
Suffices now one simple phrase -
For we must travel light!
Fling in the selfish hopes and vain
We guarded with such jealous breath,
Fling in the old, old fear of pain,
Fling in the love less strong than death!
And when the last gale, dark and blind,
Shall summon us into the night,
We'll leave no precious thing behind,
Yet we shall travel light!
The ancient teachers of our race never looked upon the outer form as the real Man but taught the esoteric doctrine of the perfect Self within. "Know
ye not that ye are gods?" said the master of Galilee and in early India another master, Krishna, said, "I am the Lord seated deep in the heart of all creatures."
They also taught that our life here on earth is for the sake of the soul - no matter how closely we may seem to wrap ourselves about with purely personal affairs. When the soul has fulfilled the purpose for which it came to earth, it is released from the physical body and then occurs the change which we call Death. Death comes to each of us in our turn - it is part of the process of Life. Sometimes we must wait many years until the body is frail and worn-out; sometimes the purpose of the soul is fulfilled earlier and we are free to leave.
This leaving the body is sometimes referred to as the `mystery of Death'. I think the word `mystery' is used there, not in the sense of something which is unknown or unknowable, but in its more ancient sense of a mystic experience, which initiates one into another state of being. In ancient times there were mystery schools where men were taught the nature of the Self and the processes of Self-Realization. Death is an initiation in the same sense that birth is an initiation, for when we are born into this world, we leave some place or some state to come here. There is this difference, that birth is a process of restriction - and death is a process of release. Birth is the hardening and materialization of the powers of the soul. Death is the opposite; it is the expansion and release of those powers.
So death is never to be feared, rather it should be accepted in that spirit which moved Whitman when he wrote his Death Carol,
"Come, lovely and soothing death,
Undulate around the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
Sooner or late, delicate death.
Dark Mother, always gliding near, with soft feet,
Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome?
Then I chant it for thee - I glorify thee above all;
I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come,
Whitman also wrote another poem, entitled "Assurances" which I would like to read to you so that you may feel the peace, serenity and confidence which it expreses.
"I need no assurances - I am a man who is preoccupied of his own Soul;
I do not doubt that from under the feet and beside the hands and face I am cognizant of, are now looking faces I am not cognizant of - calm and actual faces;
I do not doubt but the majesty and beauty of the world are latent in every iota of the world;
I do not doubt that I am limitless and that the universes are limitless - in vain I try to think how limitless;
I do not doubt that the orbs, and the systems of orbs, play their swift sports through the air on purpose - and that I shall one day be eligible to do so as much as they, and more than they;
I do not doubt that temporary affairs keep on and on, millions of years,
I do not doubt that interiors have their interiors and exteriors have their exteriors - and that the eyesight has another eyesight, and the hearing another hearing, and the voice another voice;
I do not doubt that the passionately-wept deaths of young men are provided for - and that the deaths of young women and the deaths of little children are provided for;
(Do you think life was so well provided for - and Death, the purport of all
life, is not well provided for)
I do not doubt that wrecks at sea, no matter what the horrors of them - no matter whose wife, child, husband, father, lover, has gone down, are provided for, to the minutest points I do not doubt that whatever can possibly happen, anywhere, at any time, is provided for in the inherences of things; I do not think life provides for all, and for Time and Space, but I believe Heavenly Death provides for all."
Mr. Belcher was a firm believer in the two concepts of Reincarnation and Karma, or the law of compensation which follows man through all his lives and brings back to him with every new birth, the just results of all his past efforts, whether of good or of evil. Our short physical life with all its intensity of experience is a time of tremendous opportunity. If we forget our true nature and live as though this little life were all, we will find ourselves in the tragic position of having so confined and restricted our vehicle of consciousness that the God within us has no point of contact with our outer life. On the other hand, we can so live that every thought, feeling and act is touched with the beauty, truth and goodness of the Higher Self, and then as Whitman says, "The whole life becomes a poem." Along the eternal pathway of Life itself through all the incarnations of man, there are those every re-occuring doors of birth and death. We call the time in between those two gates, life - but that time is not the whole of Life - it is only a fragment of life, and each soul on its long journey passes through those doors many times. These two concepts, Reincarnation and Karma are presented in many religions and philosophies.
Among students of Theosophy, it is an accepted opinion that each religion is in its own right, a path to Truth. "Men come unto me by many paths," said one of the great teachers of India, "and by whatsoever path a man comes to me, by that path will I receive him, for all paths are mine."
Those words were from the Bhagavad Gita. In the poetical version of that great book, The Song Celestial we find this passage:
He who shall say, "Lo! I have slain a man !"
He who shall think, "Lo! I am slain!" these both
Know naught! Life cannot slay. Life is not slain!
Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams!
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever;
Death hath not touched it at all, dear though the house of it seems!
And later in the same book there are these words:
Nay, but as when one layeth
His worn-out robes away,
And, taking new ones, sayeth
"These will I wear today!"
So putteth by the Spirit,
Lightly its garb of flesh,
And passeth to inherit
A residence afresh.
Further on in the same book, the Teacher is speaking of those who have made some attempt to realize the soul within, but who have not persisted in their efforts to the point of attaining final liberation. He says, "Such a one does not perish here or hereafter. For never to an evil place goeth one who doeth good. The man whose devotion has been broken off by death, goeth to the regions of the righteous, where he abides for an immensity of years and is then born again on earth in a pure and fortunate family, or even in a family of those who are spiritually illuminated.
But such a birth as this last is more difficult to obtain. Being born thus again, he comes in contact with the knowledge which belonged to him in his former body and from that time he struggles more diligently toward perfection. For even unwittingly, by reason of past practice, he is led and works on. Even if only a mere enquirer, he reaches beyond the word of the scriptures. But the devotee who, striving for perfection because of efforts continued through many births goeth to the supreme goal."
In the Christian Scriptures, St. Paul speaks of this mystery of Death. He uses the word in two separate senses, first in its ordinary sense, and secondly; in its mystical sense, that life in a physical body and among human passions and desires, is death from the spiritual sense. He speaks of the need to die mystically from this outer life to enter into the fuller life, the Christ life. The Self which is as it were buried in the flesh, must be redeemed and changed by spiritual living and aspiration into the very nature of the Christ. Otherwise it must be born again in a new fleshly body in a new birth or incarnation until it has attained the stature of the just ones made perfect.
St. Paul says:
"And that which thou sowest, thou soweth not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain; but God giveth it a body, as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural or psychic body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a psychic body and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, the first man, Adam was made a living soul; the last, Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which was spiritual, but that which is psychic; and afterwards that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth or dust, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."
"Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed. In an instant, with the flash of the inward eye, when the last of the seven trumpets shall sound, the disembodied dead shall be aroused to their immortality, and we shall be altogether changed. For this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible shall have put on the incorruptible, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory. Now the sting of death is failure and the measure of failure is the Law."
In an ancient Chinese scripture called the Tao Teh King, which is a very short work, marked by the deep beauty of simplicity, we find these words:
"Death is to Life as going away is to coming.
After blossoming for awhile every-
thing dies down to its roots.
This going back to one's origin is called Peace;
This giving of oneself to the inevitable is called Preservation.
He who knows this Preservation is called Luminous.
He who knows it not perpetuates his own misery."
Throughout the East one finds many references to the symbol of the potter and his wheel and to the application of that symbol to the work we do while in this body of earth and while working under the wheel of the law, the great cyclic course of nature. "And when the vessel that he made upon the wheel was marred in the hands of the potter, he made it yet again another vessel."
That was from the Old Testament. Here is a similar thought from India, from the Bradarana Upanishad: "As a goldsmith, having taken a piece of gold, makes another form, new and more beautiful, so, verily the Self, having cast off this body, and having put away ignorance, makes another new and more beautiful form. Having arrived at the end of the work - whatsoever he doeth here - he returns again from that world to this world of action."
Then from the Persian:
"I died from the mineral and became a plant;
I died from the plant and became an animal;
I died from the animal and became a man.
Why then should I fear? What have I lost by Death?
As man, Death sweeps me from this world of men,
That I may wear an angel's wings in heaven;
Yet even as an angel may I not abide,
For nought abideth save the face of God.
"Thus o'er the angel's world I wing my way,
Onwards and upwards unto boundless lights.
Thus let me be as nought, for in my heart
Rings as a harp-song, that we must return to Him."
In the Egyptian book of the Dead or the Book of the coming forth by day, we find these words:
"The soul lives after the body dies,
The soul passes through the Great Gate,
And makes a way in the darkness to its source.
It pierces the heart of evil in order to know Truth.
Let this soul pass on."
The ancient Egyptian religion tells of many gates through which the soul must pass, and each gate is represented as being guarded by a watcher who demands the pass word before allowing admittance. The soul competent to go forward replies saying: "I know thy name; thou art such and such a one" and if the name is given correctly, the guardian replies: "Pass On, O Soul."
This of course is symbolic; knowing the name of the guardian of the gate means possessing within oneself the power of mastery over the set of conditions which are represented by the gate and the guardian. That mastery must be learned on earth for all that we can take with us when we pass through the gate of Death is our character. . . Our wealth, social position, our cleverness of mind, our strength of body, all the outer things upon which we base our assurances while living, all these are laid aside, and what we are in essence, determines where we must pause. If we have not built into our character, say for example unselfishness, we would not be happy if we passed into a state where all those about us were unselfish. And so too with justice, and love and courage and other virtues, we must know
the name of the guardian, we must have inscribed on our characters the essential qualities of those virtues, before we can pass the gate which represents them.
In The Voice of the Silence, another very ancient book of the East, Seven portals are spoken of together with their seven keys, these are:
Dana, the key of charity and love immortal.
Shila, the key of harmony in word and act, the key which counter-balances the cause and effect and leaves no further room for karmic action.
Kshanti, patience sweet which nought can ruffle.
Viraga, indifference to pleasure and to pain, illusion conquered, truth alone perceived.
Virya, the dauntless energy that fights its way to the supernal truth, out of the mire of lies terrestrial.
Dhyana, whose golden gate once opened leads to Narjol toward the realm of Sat eternal and its ceaseless contemplation.
Prajna, the Key to which makes of a man a god, creating him a Bodhisattva, son of the Dhyanis.
These virtues are qualities unfolded from the soul through the processes of earth lives. They are not things which we acquire, they are powers of which we become embodiments. It is only as these soul powers are unfolded and confirmed in action that men and women become competent and capable of self direction in creative living.
The Nazarene Master said: "Therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I my take it again. No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down for myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again." No one but a Master can use that last sentence, "I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again." For the rest of us the process of reincarnation is involuntary under the great Law. And Jesus further told his disciples whom he had taught: "Whither I go ye know and the Way ye know." And there is this assurance. "He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out."
I would now ask you all to rise and recite together the Gayatri, a very ancient prayer:
"Unveil, O Thou who givest sustenance to the,Universe, from whom all things proceed, to whom all must return, that face of the true Sun, now hidden in a vase of golden light, that we may see the Truth and do our whole duty on our journey to thy sacred seat."
May the Light that lighteneth every man that cometh into the world, shine in our hearts and minds until all shadows vanish from the Valley of Death and we know that in the Eternal Life there is no death and no separation. May peace be with you.
AT THE CREMATORIUM
Before his death Mr. Belcher especially requested that there should be a reading from the Bhagavad Gita by Mrs. Somers. The passage selected by Mrs. Somers will now be read by her; it is the opening portion of the 16th Chapter and is from Sir Edwin Arnold's poetical version, The Song Celestial:
"Fearlessness, singleness of soul, the will
Always to strive for wisdom; opened hand
And governed appetites; and piety,
And love of lonely study; humbleness,
Uprightness, heed to injure nought which lives,
Truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mind
That lightly letteth go what others prize;
And equanimity, and charity
Which spieth no man's faults; and tenderness
Towards all that suffer; a contented heart;
Fluttered by no desires; a bearing mild,
Modest, and grave, with manhood nobly mixed,
With patience, fortitude and purity;
An unrevengeful spirit, never given
To rate itself too high; - such be the signs,
O Indian Prince! of him whose feet are set
On that fair path which leads to heavenly birth."
When our friend came upon that invisible path which was to lead him beyond our sight, he found that he did not require a physical body to journey on that road. It was not a body suitable for his needs where he was going and where he would use a "body not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." And so the worn physical body was left in our temporary care.
The ancients have told us that these physical bodies are composed of the four elements of earth, water, air and fire. Of these four, fire is the purest and strongest. It is symbolic of man's spiritual nature, and just as the spiritual fire burns away the dross and impurities of our many and varied lives, so does the physical fire quickly purify the other physical elements.
Therefore, at the request of our friend and in accordance with an ancient custom of our race, we have brought this physical garment to the fire, that it may be soon reduced to its component elements and these elements returned to our gentle mother, the earth.
Inasmuch then as in the wisdom of the Eternal, the soul of our brother here departed has been called home, we commit his body to Fire, the visible element of the Eternal Spirit.
Earth to earth, ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
But the soul we commit to the wise and loving spirit which sent it forth, in the sure and certain hope of its eternal life and of its glorious return to earth after rest.
"Om, the dew is on the lotus - rise great Sun,
And lift my leaf and mix me with the wave.
Om Mani Padme Om, the Sunrise comes,
The dewdrop slips into the shining sea.
May the peace of God that passeth all understanding, keep your minds and hearts in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son, the Christ, and may the blessing of the Eternal, the Father of Life, the Son of Light and the holy spirit of love be among us and remain with us always.
During the month of March we have received the following magazines: Revista d'O Pensamento, Sao Paulo, Brazil, January and February; Ancient. Wisdom, St. Louis, Mo., February; O Teosofista, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January; The Golden Lotus, Philadelphia, February; The Tornoto Theosophical News, March; The Theosophical Forum, Covina, March; Theosophy, Los Angeles, March; O Naturista, Brazil, October and Nov.-December; O Teosofista, Rio de Janeiro, March-April; The Theosophical Movement, Bombay, January and February; The Kalpaka, Coimbatore, Oct.-December; The Canadian Author and Bookman, March; Lotus Circle Lessons, Nos. 5 and 6, Dr. Grace Knoche, Covina, Cal.; The American Theosophist, March; Revista Teosofica, Argentina, Jan.-February; The Bombay Theosophical Bulletin, December and February; The Aryan Path, Bombay, February; T.S. in Mexico, Carta Semanal No. 47-50, Tampico; U.L.T. Bul-
Ietin 208, February; The Christian Theosophist, England, March-June; The Dickensian, Spring Number; Ancient Wisdom, March; Evolucion, Buenes Aires, November, December & January; Teosofia, Santiago de Cuba, March.
FOUR MORE IDOLATERS
50, Gloucester Place,
London, W. 1, England,
20th February, 1946.
Editor The Canadian Theosophist, Toronto, Canada.
Since sending you my last letter containing the protest of a number of our European general secretaries I have received replies from three others asking that their names be included, these are Dr. G. Gasco, presidential agent for Italy; Herr Gretar Fells, general secretary of Iceland; and Herr Ernst Nielsen, general secretary of Norway.
Please be good enough to note that these three representatives of European Sections wish to be included amongst those who made a protest concerning the references to Dr. Arundale in the Canadian Theosophist of September, 1945.
Assistant General Secretary.
For the General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in Europe.
P.S. - Kurion Prinaris, General Sec. of Greece, has just asked me to add his name - (by cable).
J. M. PRYSE'S BOOKS
may be had, including: The Magical Message of Oanness; The Apocalypse Unsealed; Prometheus Bound; Adorers of Dionysus; and The Restored New Teatament; from John Pryse, 919 SOUTH BERNAL AVE., Los Angeles, Calif.
THE WORKS OF CLAUDE BRAGDON
- G. Bryant Schwartz
(Concluded from Page 31)
Bragdon's literary life has extended over a period of forty-five years or more. Part of this time he was his own publisher in Rochester; and, strange to say, too great a success caused the final closing down of the Manas Press. Many of his own books, together with favored authors he published, threatened to turn him into a mere bookseller. This was largely brought about by the first publishing of P.D. Ouspensky's "Tertium Organum." With a young Russian who appeared from nowhere, one Nicholas Bessaraboff, who did the actual translation, Bragdon wrote this vast work, published it, and launched it upon the world for good or evil. He himself making note that its contents were dangerous.
Bragdon for the most part is easy to read. His style is lucid, and though his subjects, such as the fourth dimension theories, are difficult to the ordinary reader, a close study will disclose that up to a "point" everything is clear sailing. Of course the "point" mentioned is "The Great Divide." From there on one must "intuit." A wealth of information is to be found in the nineteen odd books plus many articles which have appeared in magazines. Hundreds of subjects are covered. Something, however, is lacking. This something could be the impersonal viewpoint. A Leo native as a rule concerns himself with himself and affairs pertaining to his own environment. This is very noticeable in the case of an artist, especially an actor. The glazed look makes its appearance when the subject of conversation strays away from the actor himself.
Bragdon in his writings practises his philosophy of facing the world with the pride of accomplishment. Only once he demotes himself to the level of amateur.
This is when he speaks of Ouspensky as logician and philosopher. But in the same breath - or rather in the same preface to "Four Dimensional Vistas" - he remarks that Ouspensky was "startled" at the parallelism of thought in their respective works.
In conjunction with Carmen Barnes, Bragdon in 1940 entered upon a broad educational program having the object of coordinating, Will, Heart, and Mind of the young, to act together constructively instead of destructively.
Seeing deep into woman's problems of today, he notes faulty education, aiming at a "pass" in examinations, or a training leading up to a "giving in marriage to a noble who keeps a carriage." Woman loses her hard-won freedom when submitting to the old masculine domination, or loses her soul in acquiring man's vices. She is then neither man nor woman and love is killed.
To indicate the way to salvation, Bragdon (feeling that future evolution of the human race depends upon women, this thought emanating from Emerson in the first place) offers his "stored-up honey," "his most precious messages," in the book called the "Arch Lectures."
Striding where "angels fear to tread," he notes the new freedoms lead women along paths slimy with masculine filth, and disordered sexuality due to massed karma. Summing up what he thinks in part may be found in the following lines:
Stepped down to human evidence;
A woman's tenderness,
Her mystery and beauty - fires
adventure in the male.
Inspired he hunts and fights for gain,
for gold - for betterment
To see a gleam light up an eye
is all the thanks he wants.
Sad is the state when women seek
to ape a striving man;
Lost in her power to reflect
his man-made images.
Instead, she must abort or die
lest Beauty flee the world.
If women cling to love of Love,
and man is true to Truth,
No brood of monsters will be born
to plague futurity.
He would have a woman be herself, retaining her function of promoting man's higher faculties.
But, quote: "Man has become spiritually impotent by reason of his being hypnotized by the whirring wheels of industry. Woman, who should receive images from man, is defrauded and must shift for herself by awakening the male sex in herself."
"This is the true reason for the present maladjustment between the sexes."
To elucidate, he says: "It is not the female sex, but the feminine principle, which is in the ascendant. The feminine principle is found in man just as the masculine traits are found in woman."
Again, in "The New Image," which is recommended to all ladies, he writes: "The world cannot be regenerated by any of the old panaceas - peace propaganda, international diplomacy, autocracy, democracy, education, art, religion, philosophy, and what not - but by Love, and by Love alone."
Kalil Gibran rises higher than Bragdon when Almustafa the Prophet answers the request, "Speak to us of Love"; but there is not the same humanity as may be found scattered through Bragdon's books. Perhaps the explanation is to be found in a close study of Bkakti Yoga as compared with Raja Yoga prescribed by Bragdon.
Whether the flow of sex should be dammed up by will and reason as in Blake's "Visions of the Daughters of Albion," in which Theotormon sits on the sidelines and laments, or redirected to some "bypass," is a problem, he must have considered before he had this to
say in "An Introduction to Yoga": "Everyone must face this problem in his own way and work out his own solution, which can never be according to any manmade, narrow moralistic formula. The degree of his success or failure is the true measure of his spiritual stature." Elsewhere he suggests that intensification of love is the guiding factor; with no love only lust is apparent. Love that can withstand is the only love that is entitled to consummation. On consulting Eugenie's Oracle the answer came: "Only love and yet love, for in love is salvation." When personal problems rise as gigantic question marks taking the form of released jinn, karma doctrines, the higher law of causation explains and accounts for particular and individual "stations of the cross."
Karma is here defined as that self-adjusting force in human affairs which restores the harmony disturbed by action. And reincarnation is the periodic "dip" of the immortal individual into materiality for the working out of Karma.
A touch of Taoism contained in the following lines may not be out of place:
When one is beset by fate,
And hate with its gloomy grin
Makes sin too, to gleam like love;
Above one may find at length
The strength to be still - and wait.
A special note should be made here in which may enlighten us on Sin. Buddha taught that all sin is ignorance. But more may be added. The fact is that we are ignorant of what sin really is. Of course there are many authorities to teach us and many codes of ethics, but until the world's colossal stupidity is again corrected, or the individual make an effort, little can be done except call upon our fundamental sense of decency. We commit evil unwittingly - then at some future date we recognize the uselessness of the act and, perhaps, improve our ways. Thus do we repent and the "heart is suffused with inner gladness." Note that we are our own redeemers, and the state of redemption is arrived at only when we come to the truth. Christ did not forgive the woman who washed His feet - she redeemed herself by her own knowledge and love. Bragdon's philosophy is held out to his readers as on a platter for all to partake. It is cheerful and hopeful and colored by Eastern thought, being at the opposite pole from the Western creeds of his early environment. No vicarious atonement enters, but only individual strivings are recommended.
As an interesting speculation let us examine what Bragdon says of character. Perhaps we could substitute Soul; however, he says, "Character is destiny, and character is self-created. All that we are is the result of what we have thought." If this is so, we must use words to think and reason, according to Max Muller; therefore, purity of speech, meaning of course correct words and grammar, are required to build destiny and character. If faulty speech is present, lies are conveyed, and these are in the class of the "useless" - they are our sins and they retard our evolution.
Readers and listeners should always remain on guard against the supersonic speed of thoughts and impressions which impinge at all times and confuse.
The Oracle on June 15, 1917, sent the following: The flow of sex withholds from growth so long as it is the passion of the blood. When it rises to the passion of the spirit it liberates, and that liberation is the ultimate result. The long struggle for the mastery of the passion of the blood opens at last the door through which the spirit enters. It is strange that the one cannot come to birth without the long trial that plunges the soul through agonies of remorse."
Following this sanguine message it might be advisable before passing on to
"read in" another meaning. The Word "sanguinary" signifies "a state of cheerfulness" according to the dictionary.
Now, nothing is more helpful than a sense of humor. If you can laugh at yourself, it is clear you have transcended our self. The "So what" of the adolescent person is not entirely so irresponsible as we may have thought it to be - but is an intuitional method adopted to achieve non-attachment to the parental serious things of life. The young, strange to say, in their casualness are really practising Yoga.
Quoting from "Episodes from an Unwritten History," compiled by Claude Bragdon and published by The Manas Press in 1910, hear:
"A work of choosing is going forward now more rapidly than ever before. Think of it . . . In a thousand places a thousand dramas are being enacted - for one of the duties of the already chosen is to summon others, so that from the original centre, around each broadening circle, a new and wider circle ripples forth, gathering volume, gaining momentum, to break at last in all beneficence and refreshment on some unimaginable coast of Time.
"To share in this movement is the prerogative of every human creature, but the Masters of Reality require first, an open-eyed choice, then entire allegiance; and if the feverish and unreal pleasures of the world content you, if its petty prizes still seem worth the effort of achieving, it is a sign that these things have still their lesson for you; that you are not ready for the larger life. You will not know (so great is His kindness), that your Master has passed you - for the moment - by."
Marriage, Bragdon believes, is felt to be a sacrament by right-thinking people, even though some may be puzzled to know the reason why.
At a certain memorable moment "in the flight of the alone to the Alone" the soul enters into indissoluble union with the Spirit.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote:
". . . And heaven is only a truth
When a man has his way with a maid
In the fresh keen hour of his youth."
Bragdon would stir educators to prevent this sort of youth philosophy by quoting Nagesena's reply to King Milinda's queries about Nirvana: "And if you ask, `How is Nirvana to be known?' it is by freedom from distress and danger, by confidence, by peace, by calm, by bliss, by happiness, by delicacy, by purity, by freshness."
Because a school must have ideals, Bragdon suggests that it be founded upon Yoga philosophy, "and on the sovereignty of love in all affairs of life as taught by Jesus Christ."
Here are a few of his opinions:
". . . Yoga, that priceless jewel cherished for uncounted centuries in the brooding bosom of Asia."
"Yoga provides a workable method for taking one's evolution into one's own hands."
"Yoga is the culture of Consciousness."
"Bisexuality is one of the attributes of Superhumanity brought about by Yoga practices. Yoga helps men to spiritual awareness and sexual control."
Bragdon states: "Sacraments and symbols induce in consciousness a change and lead to liberation." Robert Norwood was a kindred spirit when he "celebrated" the humble bowl of porridge on the rough plank table. And yet, the late Dr. Arundale would avoid static forms and ceremonies in favor of dynamic authority. Note the paradox and understand the sheer wall to be scaled in progressing by Bragdon's mystic methods.
"Symbols, mathematics, music, with mathematics the most perfect and potent because concerned with the mind and spirit," says Bragdon. But there is
nothing new here, of course, except the forms to be visualized beyond the space-time plane he delineates as a speculation. Many drawings crowd his portfolios, and as he himself hints, the diagrams we admire (drawn with Waterman's ink on Double Elephant) were formerly rendered in charcoal on white marble when he made first sketches in the days of Pythagoras at Crotona.
Into the higher dimensions we must travel when he says, "The minus quantity which in a sense is less than nothing in that Something must be added to it to make it equal to nothing."
To the layman the fourth dimension is absurd but not so to the mathematician who may transcend even beyond. A plea for tolerance appears with the request to look at numbers in an unaccustomed Pythagorean way; to consider their magic and mystery.
Entering into conjunctions, numbers revolve as about the sun at varying speeds. A paradox arises here if one has faith in Eugenie's Oracle. In 1920 a message came: ". . . one is all, all is one - how foolish then to put stress on numbers, the divisions of the lower self."
Based on ancient teachings, numbers have sex. They enter into marriages, and the results of such unions may be observed in the study of the musical scales. Harmonies and discords abound "as above, so below." Outside the periphery, inside the point. The discords are the useless, the "sinners" for a purpose of course, and according to some law, thus indicating trends of karma.
In amongst the "rays" of cosmic forms Bragdon leads his readers, lighted or blinded by colors of the spectrum with their corresponding numerical vibrations. Forms so unfamiliar crowd to the limit perceptions of Truth. Then, when their evolution is explained, they reduce to simplicity itself, and become a point moving about within a magic square.
Add, subtract . . . centrifugal, then centripetal action. The gyroscopical resultant not being mentioned leads one to wonder if a clue has not been missed in his quest. And yet, in his instructions to teachers of young children we read: "Teach the child by means of this symbol that just as a top can stand only so long as it is in motion, activity and effort keep the soul fixed and firm amid the illusions and temptations of the world."
Again, in the sport of skating, is summed up the most profound advice: "Teach the child by means of this symbol that in learning to live, as in learning to skate, there must be not too much fear of falling, for only by falling is it possible to learn at all."
The poet in Bragdon cries to us, "Number . . . lurks in the heartbeat and is blazoned forth on the starry canopy of the night." Into the image of mystic acrostics we try to follow, and as our leader expects, our eyes open trying to see by sense and failing. Higher faculties must be brought into play. And this is the key to Bragdon's endeavors - to raise human perceptions above the Goddess of Reason stage; or, as Dryden sings, re the power of music:
"He raised a mortal to the skies,
She drew an angel down."
The "'she" in this case being Eugenie...
"For music touches the soul through the senses, but Light through the Soul direct."
"Light is a direct medium, it passes through and beyond all limitations."
Bragdon is endeared to the run-of-the-mill common folk because of his "blithe spirit," and I do not mean Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" but Shelley's. The letter sang with "unpremeditated
art," however, while Bragdon invokes his muse by human methods.
"Into the deep blue thou wingest," Bragdon, from a draughting-board or from a Yoga posture. His example shows us the way; though our wings are a little belated.
With Shelley and Krishnamurti he recognizes, "we look before and after" instead of making each present moment of our lives count.
In the amazing transformations required to construct a higher dimensional cube, Bragdon the educator sees analogies, and would have his pupils imagine a solution to the trials of everyday life and liberation longed for. We are reminded that Man himself is a square having the limits of a cube. Nowhere can one find the thought, however, that the cube may grow by tiny increments of Nature's curved lines, and transfer into a sphere. Rays at perpendicular from the surface would meet and pass through the centre point and into the plane of the "beyond." Starting with a point which extends to a line, erects to a plane and squares again becoming the third dimension cube of which the origin is a point.
At fulcrum centre Spirit stands,
pure Spirit squaring Art
Divine Imagination - Soul,
The Kingdom of Heaven is within - within the Point. "And the city (the New Jerusalem) lieth four square, and the length is as large as the breadth. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal" may be found in the Revelation of Saint John the Divine.
Mystical truth is not for all, but all of us are encouraged to shed our sheath of matter and squint for a little at the brighter aspects.
The technique required to draw on paper a three dimensional cube is understood by educated persons. Bragdon intrigues one to follow him into the fourth dimension, still on paper, still following rules; and then he requires stillness and contemplation while this new form is considered. In the three dimension cube Reason abides, but "something" more is demanded if we are to pass on through the invisible film. This "something" he would have the world of suffering humans exercise in preparation for a new age of emancipation.
Lest we wander into the relativity of space magnitudes in Bragdon's "House of Many Mansions," where no "time" is, we will drop a pin on the floor, wake up and proceed.
Drawing after drawing, beautifully executed and lettered in the best architectural style, deals with Jay Hambidge's "root rectangles" of Dynamic Symmetry; Adolfo Best-Maugard's "seven forms"; the logarithmic spiral; perhaps the form of the Universe itself - a spiral nebula . . . until the reader lays the book aside with a sigh, or, grasping the beauty of the conceptions, takes a firmer hold, and passes out of "time" into the realms where dwell strange magic forms. Conceptions of this order pave the way to an idealism in no way counter to the newest science which itself leans towards the transcendental, the mystical - a mysticism founded not upon faith but upon knowledge.
Bragdon's occult life would require much time to outline; but as time is the "essence" of our lives on this lower plane, postponement of examination is in order. He has run the gamut in his studies. From H.P.B. to Love . . . from Matter to Spirit, by way of Soul, till we find ourselves just where we were at the start. Our Theosophy is our own, or it should be. Here too is the key message Krishnamurti offers.
This man, who just escaped Messiahship by a hair's breadth, is a fountain of wisdom. Many of his "sayings" are to be found in "Yoga for You." The chapter "Unity of Being;" is a para-
phrase of one of his sermons. Note the following: "Love everyone you can, and all you can, and as disinterestedly as possible, for the highest and most potent form of love is dispassionate. If you look for a return of love, it is like asking for payment for a gift; if you are jealous or possessive, you drape the object of your love in chains."
If one would carry this thought on to meet another authority, turn to Gibran and read what he writes about marriage in his book, "The Prophet."
In searching out the essence of archetype, the original model of Man, Bragdon studies Plato's "shadow watchers"; he presents his cube shadows as more real, less related to time than the archetype, the cube; then offers for consideration: "Are the realities the projections on the screen of sensuous existence from higher dimension prototypes - the archetypal forms and beings of a higher dimensional world?"
With Plato, Swedenborg and others he says: "I believe that every mundane thing is in some sort a replica or reflection of its higher dimensional archetype, which can only thus mirror its ever perfection in materiality by means of that transitory and distorted image. The archetype of every personal self is "the Great Self without selfishness"; the archetype of woman is Woman - the Eternal Feminine."
It has been said before that mathematics relates to a function of the mind and transcends into the spirit plane. Therefore in science the higher dimensions are real. They deal with relationships and are subject to reasonable examination and definition. The materialist is not concerned with the metaphysics of` the theory because he has enough to think about as it is. And the paradox is such that the higher dimensions are investigated on the third dimension plane. The intellect and powers of sense are the tools. To the mystic, however, who uses intuition and perhaps other high faculties, the fourth dimension assumes a very different aspect. Bragdon in his studies has made strides of vast importance towards practical methods of drawing intuition down to the plane of reason. He admits that though the possibilities are high in percentage a future race of people will function on the higher planes in their third dimension physical bodies, the time is not yet. Nor are we trained fine enough. All his emphasis is on this preparation. Outside the scope of this paper is the geometry and metaphysical reasonings Bragdon makes use of. A perusal of his books will kill or cure the desire of the untrained mind to follow him the whole way. To go a short distance with him, we quote, "Time is the fourth perpendicular." This conception is necessary when we try to imagine the fourth dimension space. Or it may be defined roughly as a direction at right angles to every known direction.
"But this thou must not think to find
With eyes of body, but of mind."
The eyes of mind being the intuitive faculties of man set above the Manas or reasoning department. Can it be that "undefinable" soul is left behind with the third dimension when the "unknowable" spirit takes charge soon after the Buddhi state is reached in the fourth dimension? This seems to be contrary to Hinton's conception, in which he conceives the soul as Higher-Dimensional with relation to the body.
What are the distinguishing characteristics of Buddhi? it may be asked. How does it manifest in Man? By a spirit of brotherliness, friendliness, helpfulness, and by sympathy. To house a thought long enough to chew upon it, consider "time" as that intangible thing which divides the plan of reason from that of intuition. It stands at the fulcrum of balance, at the centre of the point, and sways the see-
saw of Man's faculties from the Hell of Matter to the Heaven of Spirit. Even Albert Einstein has examined time and space and given to the world new theories to prove or disprove. Curved Space, Relativity, Quantum, Spatial Extension are all new synonymic terms for "Old Man Time," who, armed with his scythe, comes on the job at the moment when Man, the individual, is finally called upon to take the last step through the invisible wall dividing "Time barred doors."
To C.W. Leadbeater and other clairvoyants, "forms, movements and mechanics are of the higher dimension. In fact, the fourth dimension cube is quite a familiar figure on the astral plane." And Bragdon and John Van Manen made drawings of hyper-spheres.
But all seems to resolve into a matter of consciousness, as Ouspensky points out. And this is where Yogan practices demonstrate true value.
What is God? Man's archetype. What is Man? God's image. Reflections, shadows. Refractions, shattered. Forming and reforming. Sunlight on uneasy water.
What then is our problem? To become clear and still. What is the next step? By Yoga practice develop a fourth form of consciousness named the Intuitional. Each one of us may find an individual "Ray" on which to ascend to that World wherein the Soul is in union with the Universal Spirit. And here is a potent message from the Oracle which should be included: "Lift your Spirit towards joy, for in joy is illumination. Not by the path of the downcast may you know the Truth."
The Eternal Fugitive having functioned in accordance with the laws of tile Life Force so concisely tabulated in
"The Arch Lectures," a final message of cheer is found in the last lines of a lullaby love song
No Little Death may harm, nor mar;
no Second Death destroy;
So slumber, dear, and wake and live
THE ANNUAL ELECTION
In a previous issue it was notified to all Secretaries that no action would be taken unless the Lodges sent in an intimation that it would be necessary to hold such an election. Up to date most of the larger lodges have sent in Motions that the General Secretary and the present members of the General Executive be nominated, and it is presumed that the others in the absence of any notification are satisfied with the status quo. But a vacancy was caused in the General Executive owing to the death of the late Mr. Felix Belcher and this therefore must be filled. Last month there was a notice to that effect and a suggestion that the name of Mrs. Elizabeth Belcher be substituted foir that of her late husband. Since then it has transpired that Mrs. Belcher while appreciating the suggestion, declined to act in that capacity. Some of the Lodges acted on the idea and nominated her for the vacancy but in view of the above they are null and void. The Toronto Lodge knowing the circumstances nominated Mr. E.B. Dustan, and this being the only nomination for the vacancy he thereby goes in by acclamation. Therefore I hereby declare that the nominees for the General Secretary and the General Executive are elected for the coming year as from 1st July, 1946.
- The General Secretary.
BOOKS BY CHARLES JOHNSTON
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