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Vol. XXVII, No. 7 Hamilton, September 15th, 1946 Price 20 Cents
"THE THINGS THAT ARE UNSEEN"
St. Paul has written one of the very great texts of the Bible in the words: "The things that are seen are temporal; the things that are unseen are eternal." This is true for religion, but also for philosophy, and for science as well.
The kingdom of heaven is within you, invisible, uncreate. No man can reveal his heaven to his brother; it is an apocalpytic vision for his self alone. Know ye not, says St. Paul again, that Jesus Christ is in you? Closer than breathing, nearer than hands and feet, is the assurance of Tennyson who had the vision splendid if any man ever had. The air we breathe in typhoon and cyclone brings ruin to city and village alike with titanic devastation wherever its viewless finger marks a path. But few men understand the parable it presents. Spirit is the breath of life, and holy, holy, holy, is the breath we so carelessly defile. The Sacred Magic Power guides the course of the breath from nostril to nostril every one hour fifty-six minutes and eight seconds thus linking our tiny lives with the mighty life of the Universe itself. In healthy human bodies this law prevails to establish a balance of the life forces, men and women breathing through opposite nostrils and changing over at the same time. Comparatively few are aware of this, even among evangelists and preachers who profess to know the will of God better than common men.
Philosophy, which deals with the laws of Nature, is familiar with the power of the Unseen, for Law is only known by its effects and influence, absolute though it be. The great principles and the virtues are observable in their operation but are themselves intangible and unseen. Brotherhood, truth, purity, love, joy, peace, all belong to the unseen world of the mind and it is difficult at times to find language that can convey a true sense of their nature and power.
Science, for at least two generations, has been trying to peer into the darkness of what it had regarded as a basic world of matter, but to its astonishment, has found it not to be material at all, but a very active and forceful world whose operations it has endeavored to depict by symbols and figures, with language derived from the world of sense, guided by such intuition and imagination as naturally attends the efforts of any explorer. Slowly, too, science is beginning to admit that this inner world is another step nearer to the Eternal.
"Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what thou dost love,
And do what thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, Breath of God;
Until my heart is pure;
Until my will is one with thine
To do and to endure."
By L. Furze Morrish
After two world wars, a major and several minor economic depressions, it must have become obvious to the simplest mind that all is not well with the human race and its institutions. That is putting the matter in mild terms. It might be better to say that the world is very sick and that a crisis is at hand which will settle the matter of the life or death of the present civilization on earth. Leaving aside the speculations of higher occultism and concentrating only on the mundane issue, we are faced with one of the turning points in human history. Other such turning points have been met when one race or sub-race is ending and another beginning. Other civilizations have disappeared or, better, disintegrated owing to the collapse of their inner moral values, and the present one may join the others very soon unless certain steps are taken.
Let us consider the causes of the present international confusion. They start a very long way back in man's evolution. They have their beginnings strictly in the initial development of individualism and objective analysis. Very primitive man in early Lemuria appears to have been subjectively conscious in a vague tribal, or negative way. Individuals were not aware of themselves as separate from their environment, but formed part of the tribal background or landscape, as it were. Psychic forces flower in and out and through them, and they accepted this as an animal today accepts the group instinctual forces and impulses without argument. It was not a question of tribal compulsion, any more than an animal is compelled to obey its group instinct, or group-soul. It just does, because it is a part of the group-soul.
Man at that early stage was "lunar" in his conscious response. He functioned in the autonomic and not a cerebro-spinal system. The sense of sight, which works through the optic nerve, was not as developed then as today, because that sense developed with the cerebro-spinal system. Possibly smell predominated in some way, as with animals today. The psychic counterpart of smell was probably involved.
With the evolution of sight and the cerebro-spinal system man began to develop individual awareness. He gradually became self-conscious and behaved objectively, giving his attention to a physical world, or, as Koffka terms it, the "geographical world" as distinct from the "behavioral world". In this way he learned to feel himself as separate from the environment and began to analyze. This objective process caused the cortical tissues of the frontal lobes to develop and cover the pineal gland, thus obliterating the former psychic awareness. As civilizations of an objective type developed, reliance was placed on the few remaining negative "seers", witch-doctors, etc. In Egypt "Lookers" were trained specially to contact the subjective world and give advice on how the community should proceed. The Delphic Oracle in Greece was another example. "Wise Women" in European times are further evidence of this.
It is important to realize one clear fact. With the development of objective vision, spiritual vision lessened. With growing attention on this world, awareness of the other world grew less. This process meant the weakening of any reliance on a universal governing principle, or divine agency. During primitive times, when man was psychically aware in a subconscious way, acceptance of a super-governing principle was negatively accepted without reason or knowledge. As man became individualized, acceptance of this Inner-Motif grew less and less, and had to be bolstered by religions, which "bind man back" to his psychic source, and
by oracles and seers. A few positive Seers and Sages entered the human stream personally to guide the major issues, and lesser or negative seers and seeresses contacted them psychically. The "priest was the mouthpiece of the gods".
In ancient Greece analysis developed rapidly and strongly, almost completely discrediting the established mythological religion. With this disappeared the sense of a moral purpose in the universe, as it always does when contemporary moral institutions or values are discredited, because they cannot keep pace with social and objective growth. The collapse of the Greek States resulted, and the Roman State developed with a new inner motivation, namely Stoicism. When this failed in turn, the Roman State deteriorated and a new spiritual allegiance grew up under official Christianity. This was founded once again on contact by the Founder and His followers with the Life-source, the Inner World. This established a new allegiance for many centuries and united western humanity in the Holy Roman Empire. The moral purpose was once more acceptable in the new terms and the new form.
This continued up to the Renaissance and Reformation, when a new disintegrative process and stimulus to objectivity developed. Analytical science emerged from alchemy, religion became more and more discredited in its then existing form, and the acceptance of a moral purpose once more weakened. We are now somewhere near the endpoint of that downward curve today.
For about three centuries analysis has been increasing and knowledge of the inner world decreasing. Laissez-faire democracy in the West grew increasingly until by the beginning of the present century there was little cohesion in any state, let alone in the world. Let us emphasize that community cohesion
depends on acceptance of a, moral purpose. If there is no moral purpose accepted, there can be no logical reason for cohesion. Primitive psychic man cohered because he felt the overruling Purpose flowing through him and he had no way of arguing about it. Gradually individualizing man has been losing more and more of his vision of moral purpose until today very few ordinary men or women really believe in it any more. Utilitarianism, the "live-and-let-live" policy, of "scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours" intent, has preserved some kind of cohesion in the West, but this depends entirely on human equality which does not exist. When one individual or group feels strong enough, it will throw over the "gentleman's agreement" and make a bid for supreme power, because there is no sense of a moral purpose to prevent this.
European dictatorships were an attempt to "stop the rot" - to check the disintegrating process which was leading Western humanity to individualistic chaos. Unfortunately they took the subconscious instead of the super-conscious form - they went back to pre-individualistic tribalism, instead of moving forward to voluntary group-relationship. Hence their destruction.
The position in the world is worse today than it was in 1939. The West is nearer complete disintegration than it was then, despite United Nations or any other international organization. The spirit is still lacking. Vision of the inner purpose and motif is still missing, and there is still no notion generally of any moral purpose which can provide the necessary sanctions for cohesion.
That is the diagnosis. What is the cure? The cure lies in one sole direction. It requires a return to guidance by Seers, this time knowledgeable Seers and Sages possessing all the modern analytical and scientific ability, but
with added vision of the Good, the True and the Beautiful. It needs new Seers to show humanity that beauty does not lie in the eye of the beholder, a typically false statement in a disintegrative cycle of Adharma. It needs Seers to look ahead and speak truly what they see. The present politicians cannot do this. In the first place they have no vision because they are surrounded by the fog of their own self-interests, as well as the fogs of all those vested pressure-groups which lobby around them and add to the fog. The masses have no vision. They see only the immediate task. In any case, if a politician could see ahead, he would be unable to relate what he sees truly because his vision is distorted by those same self-interests which color everything.
We of The Theosophical Society, who are students of the Wisdom and claim to be servants and pupils of the real Seers who stand behind mankind, have an immense responsibility today, and a correspondingly great opportunity. We must live with vision as never before. We must look ahead and speak truly what we see, whether we are abused and ridiculed or not. The time is short and the crisis is at hand. Unless the change to vision is made very soon, it seems that the present civilization will destroy itself, and there will come a need for a few sages to go out into the wilderness once more and found a new race, losing temporarily all the great objective values which have been built up.
What then can one say of those Theosophists who spend precious time in wrangling - who waste effort vital to human service in personal animosities - sometimes a whole section spending its time in abuse of this or that personality? What words can express the shock one feels at seeing a Lodge split in two divisions over personal ill-will, and place-seeking. This is no time to argue about personal aggrandizement, or the election of one's own leader, as in the outer world, where self-interest is naked and unashamed. All those who have ever glimpsed the great Purpose of Life even in a slight measure, must pull together, and give the world an example of that resultant cohesion of which they are preaching. What will be the karma of those who, when the opportunity of service came, they threw it away to spend energy on attacking a fellow member over some personal ill-will, or some desire to occupy an office. Let us keep our sense of proportion, if not for the sake of the Work, then for the sake of not incurring the awful karma which deliberate rejection of an opportunity inevitably brings. There is a call to help "Those few strong hands which are holding the forces of darkness in check." What sort of a reply is it that "I have bought a house, therefore I cannot come," "I do not like so-and-so, because of this or that", "So-and-so is aiming at power, which I want", etc. Personal jealousies among so-called leaders prove one thing, that the leaders are not real seers, but unevolved persons unable to control their lower natures. Hence one more nail is driven into the deflating balloon of faith in any moral purpose. If the new seers, or their agents fail, what hope has the ordinary man of regaining faith in any kind of universal purpose.
If one might use a perhaps strong quotation, one might say "Woe to him by whom the Son of Man is betrayed". - From Theosophy in Australia, June-August, being the leading address at the Annual Convention.
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THE LAST SUPPER
By Fiona Macleod (William Sharp)
The last time that the Fisher of Men was seen in Strath-Nair was not of Alasdair Macleod but of the little child, Art Macarthur, him that was born of the woman Mary Gilchrist, that had known the sorrow of women.
He was a little child, indeed, when, because of his loneliness and having lost his way, he lay sobbing among the bracken by the stream-side in the Shadowy Glen.
When he was a man, and had reached the gloaming of his years, he was loved of men and women, for his songs are many and sweet, and his heart was true, and he was a good man and had no evil against any one.
It is he who saw the Fisher of Men when he was but a little lad; and some say that it was on the eve of the day that Alasdair Og died, though of this I know nothing. And what he say, and what he heard, was a moonbeam that fell into the dark sea of his mind, and sank therein, and filled it with light for all the days of his life. A moonlit mind was that of Art Macarthur; him that is known best as Ian Mor, Ian Mor of the Hills, though why he took the name of Ian Cameron is known to none now but one person, and that need not be for the telling here. He had music always in his mind. I asked him once why he heard what so few heard, but he smiled and said only: "When the heart is full of love, cool dews of peace rise from it and fall upon the mind; and that is when the song of Joy is heard."
It must have been because of this shining of his soul that some who loved him thought of him as one illumined. His mind was a shell that held the haunting echo of the deep seas; and to know him was to catch a breath of the infinite ocean of wonder and mystery and beauty of which he was the quiet oracle. He has peace now, where he lies under the heather upon a hillside far away; but the Fisher of Men will send him hitherward again, to put a light upon the wave and a gleam upon the brown earth.
I will tell this sgeul as Ian Mor that was the little child Art Macarthur, told it to me.
Often and often it is to me all as a dream that comes unawares. Often and often have I striven to see into the green glens of the mind whence it comes, and whither, in a flash, in a rainbow gleam, it vanishes. When I seek to draw close to it, to know whether it is a winged glory out of the soul, or was indeed a thing that happened to me in my tender years, lo - it is a dawn drowned in day, a star lost in the sun, the falling of dew.
But I will not be forgetting; no, never; no, not till the silence of the grass is over my eyes; I will not be forgetting that gloaming.
Bitter tears are those that children have. All that we say with vain words is said by them in this welling spray of pain. I had the sorrow that day. Strange hostilities lurked in the familiar bracken. The soughing of the wind among the trees, the wash of the brown water by my side; that had been companionable, were voices of awe. The quiet light upon the grass flamed.
The fierce people that lurked in shadow had eyes for my helplessness. When the dark came I thought I should be dead, devoured of I knew not what wild creature. Would mother never come, never come with saving arms, with eyes like soft candles of home?
Then my sobs grew still; for I heard a step. With dread upon me, poor wee lad that I was, I looked to see who came out of the wilderness. It was a man, tall and thin and worn, with long hair hanging adown his face. Pale he was as a moonlit cot on the dark moor, and his voice was low and sweet. When I saw his eyes I had no fear upon me at all. I saw the mother-look in the grey
shadow of them.
"And is that you, Art lennavan-Mo?" he said, as he stooped and lifted me.
I had no fear. The wet was out of my eyes.
"What is it you will be listening to now, my little lad,?" he whispered, as he saw me lean, intent, to catch I know not what.
I said, "I am not for knowing; but I thought I heard a music away down there in the wood."
I heard it, for sure. It was a wondrous sweet air, as of one playing the feadan in a dream. Callum Dall, the piper, could give no rarer music than that was; and Callum was a seventh son, and was born in the moonshine.
"Will you come with me this night of the nights, little Art?" the man asked me, with his lips touching my brow and giving me rest.
"That I will indeed and indeed," I said. And then I fell asleep.
When I awoke we were in the hunts-man's booth, that is at the far end of the Shadowy Glen.
Ther was a long rough-hewn table in it, and I stared when I saw bowls and a great jug of milk and a plate heaped with oat-cakes, and beside it a brown loaf of rye-bread.
"Little Art," said he who carried me, "are you for knowing now who I am?"
"You are a prince, I'm thinking," was the shy word that came to my mouth.
"Sure, lennav-aghray, that is so. It is called the Prince of Peace I am."
"And who is to be eating all this?" I asked.
"This is the last supper," the prince said, so low that I could scarce hear; and it semed to me that he whispered, "For I die daily, and ever ere I die the Twelve break bread with me."
It was then I saw that there were six bowls of porridge on the one side and six on the other.
"What is your name, O prince?"
"And will you have no other name than that?"
"I am called Iosa mac Dhe."
"And is it living in this house you are?"
"Ay. But Art, my little lad, I will kiss your eyes, and you shall see who sup with me."
And with that the prince that was called Iosa kissed me on the eyes, and I saw.
"You will never be quite blind again," he whispered, and that is why all the long years of my years I have been glad in my soul.
What I saw was a thing strange and wonderful. Twelve men sat at that table, and all had eyes of love upon Iosa. But they were not like any men I had ever seen. Tall and fair and terrible they were, like morning in a desert place; all save one, who was dark and had a shadow upon him and in his wild eyes.
It seemed to me that each was clad in radiant mist. The eyes of them were as stars through that mist.
And each, before he broke bread, or put spoon to the porridge that was in the bowl before him, laid down upon the table three shuttles.
Long I looked upon that company, but Iosa held me in his arms, and I had no fear.
"Who are these men?" he asked me. "The Sons of God," I said, I not knowing what I said, for it was but a child I was.
He smiled at that. "Behold," he spoke to the twelve men who sat at the table, "behold the little one is wiser than the wisest of ye." At that all smiled with the gladness and the joy, save one; him that was in the shadow. He looked at me, and I rememberd two black lonely tarns upon the hillside, black with the terror because of the kelpie and the drowner.
"Who are these men?" I whisperd, with the tremor on me that was come
of the awe I had.
"They are the Twelve Weavers, Art, my little child."
"And what is their weaving?"
"They weave for my Father, whose web I am."
At that I looked upon the prince, but I could see no web.
"Are you not Iosa the Prince?"
"I am the Web of Life, Art lennavanme."
"And what are the three shuttles that are beside each Weaver?"
I know now that when I turned my child's eyes upon these shuttles I saw that they were alive and wonderful, and never the same to the seeing.
"They are called Beauty and Wonder and Mystery."
And with that Iosa mac Dhe sat down and talked with the Twelve. All were passing fair, save him who looked side-long out of dark eyes. I thought each, as I looked at him, more beautiful than any of his fellows; but most I loved to look at the twain who sat on either side of Iosa.
"He will be a Dreamer among men," said the prince; "so tell him who ye are."
Then he who was on the right turned his eyes upon me. I leaned to him, laughing low with the glad pleasure I had because of his eyes and shining hair, and the flame as of the blue sky that was his robe.
"I am the Weaver of Joy," he said. And with that he took his three shuttles that were called Beauty and Wonder and Mystery, and he wove an immortal shape, and it went forth of the room and out into the green world, singing a rapturous sweet song.
Then he that was upon the left of Iosa the Life looked at me, and my heart leaped. He, too had shining hair, but I could not tell the color of his eyes for the glory that was in them. "I am the Weaver of Love," he said, "and I sit next the heart of Iosa." And with that he took his three shuttles that were called Beauty and Wonder and Mystery and he wove an immortal shape, and it went forth of the room and into the green world singing a rapturous sweet song.
Even then, child as I was, I wished to look on no other. None could be so passing fair, I thought, as the Weaver of Joy and the Weaver of Love.
But a wondrous sweet voice sang in my ears, and a cool, soft hand laid itself upon my head, and the beautiful lordly one who had spoken said, "I am the Weaver of Death," and the lovely whispering one who had lulled me with rest said, "I am the Weaver of Sleep." And each wove with the shuttles of Beauty and Wonder and Mystery, and I knew not which was the more fair, and Death seemed to me as Love, and in the eyes of Dream I saw Joy.
My gaze was still upon the fair wonderful shapes that went forth from these twain - from the Weaver of Sleep, an immortal shape of star-eyed Silence, and from the Weaver of Death a lovely Dusk with a heart of hidden flame - when I heard the voice of two others of the Twelve. Theye were like the laughter of the wind in the corn, and like the golden fire upon that corn. And the one said, "I am the Weaver of Passion," and when he spoke I thought that he was both Love and Joy, and Death and Life, and I put out my hands. "It is Strength I give," he said, and he took and kissed me. Then, while Iosa took me again upon his knee, I saw the Weaver of Passion turn to the white glory beside him, him that Iosa whispered to me was the secret of the world, and that was called "The Weaver of Youth." I know not whence nor how it came, but there was a singing of skiey birds when these twain took the shuttles of Beauty and Wonder and Mystery, and wove each an immortal shape, and bade it go forth out of the room into the green world, to sing there for ever and
ever in the ears of man a rapturous sweet song.
"O lose," I cried, "are these all thy brethren? for each is fair as thee, and all have lit their eys at the white fire I see now in thy heart."
But, before he spake, the room was filled with music. I trembled with the joy, and in my ears it has lingered ever, nor shall ever go. Then I saw that it was the breathing of the seventh and eighth, of the ninth and the tenth of those star-eyed ministers of Iosa who he called the Twelve; and the names of them were Weaver of Laughter, the Weaver of Tears, the Weaver of Prayer, and the Weaver of Peace. Each rose and kissed me there. "We shall be with you to the end, little Art," they said and I took hold of the hand of one, and cried, "O beautiful one, be likewise with the woman my mother," and there came back to me the whisper of the Weaver of Tears: "I will, unto the end."
Then, wonderingly, I watched him likewise take the shuttles that were ever the same and yet never the same, and weave an immortal shape. And when this Soul of Tears went forth of the room, I thought it was my mother's voice singing that rapturous sweet song, and I cried out to it.
The fair immortal turned and waved to me. "I shall never be far from thee, little Art," it sighed, like summer rain falling on leaves; "but I go now to my home in the heart of women."
There were now but two out of the Twelve. Oh the gladness and the joy when I looked at him who had his eyes fixed on the face of Iosa that was the Life. He lifted the three shuttles of Beauty and Wonder and Mystery, and he wove a Mist of Rainbows in that room; and in the glory I saw that even the dark twelfth one lifted up his eyes and smiled.
"O what will the name of you be?" I cried, straining my arms to the beautiful lordly one. But he did not hear, for he wrought Rainbow after Rainbow out of the mist of glory that he made, and sent each out into the green world, to be for ever before the eyes of men.
"He is the Weaver of Hope," whispered Iosa mac Dhe; "and he is the soul of each that is here."
Then I turned to the twelfth, and said "Who art thou, O lordly one with the shadow in the eyes."
But he answered not, and there was silence in the room. And all there, from the Weaver of Joy to the Weaver of Peace, looked down, and said nought. Only the Weaver of Hope wrought a rainbow, and it drifted into the heart of the lonely Weaver that was twelfth.
"And who will this man be, O Iosa mac Dhe?" I whispered.
"Answer the little child," said Iosa, and his voice was sad.
Then the Weaver answered:
"I am the Weaver of Glory," he began, but Iosa looked at him, and he said no more.
"Art, little lad," said the Prince of Peace, "he is the one who betrayed me for ever. He is Judas, the Weaver of Fear."
And at that the sorrowful shadow-eyed man that was the twelfth took up the three shuttles that were before him.
"And what are these, O Judas?" I cried eagerly, for I saw that they were black.
When he answered not, one of the Twelve leaned forward and looked at him. It was the Weaver of Death who did this thing.
"The three shuttles of Judas the Fear-Weaver, O little Art," said the Weaver of Death, "are called Mystery, and Despair, and the Grave."
And with that Judas rose and left the room. But the shape that he had woven went forth with him as his shadow; and each fared out into the dim world, and the Shadow entered into the minds and into the hearts of men, and betrayed Iosa that was the Prince of Peace.
Thereupon, Iosa rose and took me by the hand; and led me out of that room. When, once, I looked back I saw none of the Twelve save only the Weaver of Hope, and he sat singing a wild sweet song that he had learned of the Weaver of Joy, sat singing amid a mist of rainbows and weaving a radiant glory that was dazzling as the sun.
And at that I woke, and was against my mother's heart, and she with the tears upon me, and her lips moving in a prayer.
DUAL PERSONALITY OF WILLIAM SHARP
Natural Versatility Construed Into A Psychological Phenomena - Mrs. Sharp's Memoir Gives Sane Explanation of So-Called Mystery.
Literary circles have been greatly stirred up over the dual personality of William Sharp, who wrote one class of literature over the signature of "Fiona Macleod," and something entirely different over his own name. Had it not been that the identity of "Fiona Macleod" was carefully hidden from the reading public, it is not likely that this furore about "dual personality" would have amounted to much. What about the dual personality of the Milton who wrote "L'Allegro" and "E Pensuroso" and the Milton who wrote polemics and pamphlets on divorce? Nobody seems to see any conflict of personalities in that, because we all know that Milton wrote these diversely opposed literary productions. What about the author of Robinson Crusoe being exposed in the pillory for his satire on the church? Surely he might have claimed the protection of the "dual personality!" Every imaginative writer whose work shows versatility may be accredited with the ownership of several personalities. The most sensible contribution to the "Fiona Macleod" discussion is the book by Mrs. Sharp.
Mrs. William Sharp has written her memoir of her husband with rare discretion and restraint, qualities not easily attained when discussing so difficult a matter as the "Fiona Macleod Mystery." She makes no claim that the writing of William Sharp under the posudonym of "Fiona Macleod" from 1893 on to his death in 1905 proceeded from a different personality than had informed his earlier writing. She points out, indoed, that there was in his earlier writing as William Sharp the germ of his later writing as "Fiona Macleod." She even goes so far as to call Mr. W .B. Yeats mistaken when he says, speaking of interviews he had with Sharp, "I believe that when "Fiona Macleod" left the house he (William Sharp) would have no recollection of what he had been saying to me." But Mrs. Sharp does claim that "William Sharp seemed a different person when the Fiona mood was on him . . . `W.S.' could set himself deliberately to work normally and was, so far, master of his mind. But for the expression of the `F.M.' self he had to wait upon mood, or seek conditions to produce it."
We may, I think, take the words of Mrs. Sharp as final on the question. The case of William Sharp and "Fiona Macleod" was not a case of complete dual personality, but a dominance of William Sharp at the age of thirty-five by a desire to write in the spirit of the Celtic Renaissance, a desire that took him back, in imagination, to old time, and brought into his life a new motive in living and writing. That this dominance by a desire ended in a real possession is proved by the fact that it inspired him to better writing than he had done before; but that it was different in kind from the complete absorption almost to unconsciousness of everything else, and without which they cannot do their best work, there is no proof.
There is Sharp himself to be quoted, too, on what Mrs. Sharp calls the "F.M" phase," "the F.M. expression of himself." The Hon. Alexander Nelson Hood had written to Sharp to say it would be necessary to reveal his identity with "Fiona Macleod" to secure a government pension for him on his reputation as a writer. Sharp could not agree to the pension on such terms, badly as he needed it in his poverty and illness. "Rightly or wrongly," he answers his friend, "I am conscious of something to be done - to be done by one side of me, by one-half of me, by the true inward self, I believe - (apart from the overwhelmingly felt mystery of a dual self, and a reminiscent life, and a woman's life and nature within, concurring with and often dominating the other) - and, rightly or wrongly, I believe that this, and the style so strangely born of this inward life, depend upon my aloofness and spiritual isolation as `F.M.' To betray publicly the private life and constrained ideal of that inward self, for a reward's sake, would be a poor collapse."
Story of His Life
While the discussion of the two phases of the writing of William Sharp is what lends the memoir its deepest interest, there is a great deal else to interest. There is the story of a high-hearted man's long struggle with poverty and ill health, of his accomplishing much good writing against great odds, of his visits to many beautiful places, from the Hebrides to the isles of Greece, of his friendships with men great in letters. The names of Rossetti, who encouraged his 'prentice work in poetry, and of Meredith, who greatly admired the prose of "Fiona," are perhaps most often repeated, but there were many other authors among the friends of William Sharp. He knew our own Stoddard and Stedman and Mr. Bliss Carman, and, in England, Pater and Mrs. Watts-Dunton and Mr. Hichens, to mention but a few. Letters from such fellow authors and from other friends make up a large part of the memoir, and letters from Sharp himself a very great part of it. Despite his lifelong toil at writing, toil for a living, and despite his frequent illnesses, Sharp carried on a large correspondence and a very interesting one, one that tells us much that would otherwise not be preserved.
No one who goes to this book, either for its record of things literary of the last quarter of the last century, or for its revelation of the "Fiona Macleod phenomena," will be disappointed. It is appealing and informing from cover to cover.
MR. WELLS AT THE BEGINNING OF INSIGHT?
Mr. H.G. Wells has written a strange, short book called "Mind at the End of its Tether." We have had divers religious prophets to proclaim the end of the world. Mr. Wells, prophet of materialistic vitalism, announces the impending end of the human race, and it is not a reaction to the atomic bomb, for his book was written before he had heard of those new explosions whose reverberations are still echoing in the thoughts and feelings of mankind. He is "convinced that there is no way out or round or through the impasse. It is the end . . . . The unknown power that evoked it (our universe) has at last turned against us. . . This unknowable . . . . `The Antagonist' . . . . the unknown implacable . . . has set its face against us . . . has endured life for so long by our reckoning and has now turned against it so implacably to wipe it out . . . Homo Sapiens . . . is in its present form played out. The stars in their courses have turned against him and he has to give place to some other animal better adapted to face the fate that closes in more and more swiftly upon mankind. That new animal
may be an entirely alien strain, or . . . a new modification of the Hominidae, and even . . . a direct continuation of the human phylum, but it will certainly not be human." He "sees the world as a jaded world devoid of recuperative power . . . the old men behave for the most part meanly and disgustingly, and the young are spasmodic, foolish and all too easily misled. Man must go steeply up or down and the odds seem to be all in favor of his going down and out. If he goes up, then so great is the adaptation demanded of him that he must cease to be a man. Ordinary man is at the end of his tether. Only a small, highly adaptable minority of the species can possibly survive."
Mr. Wells has long sought to blue print "The Shape of Things to Come," but events are unfolding in ways which do not conform to any pattern that he can foresee . . ."There is no `Pattern of Things to Come'." . . . The world of sensory experience is losing its supposed reality for him. "The cinema sheet stares us in the face. That sheet is the actual fabric of Being. Our loves, our hates, our wars and battles, are no more than a phantasmagoria dancing on that fabric, themselves as unsubstantial as a dream . . . The vast majority of the beholders accept all the conventions of the story, and live and suffer and rejoice and die in it and with it. But the sceptical mind says stoutly, `This is delusion'."
So Mr. Wells has perceived that the sweep of destiny is beyond his power to forecast its shape. He perceives the mounting crisis of the Fifth Race, but blurred through materialistic spectacles. He is approaching the Vedantic truths as his life rounds out to its close. He is transcending a mind that he has extended to the end of its tether. He has discerned the Maya. Can he cast off his materialistic shackles and realize the matrix of the superphysical before his own survival of his own body's death compels him to recognize basic errors
that have distorted the thinking of a lifetime? Can he spring from the perception of Maya to the discernment of Atman? The grand cycles have not ceased because Mr. Wells finds they move beyond his compass. Mankind must indeed advance sharply or face calamity. True occultism must displace both theological and materialistic obscurantism before the end of the 21st century, said H.P. Blavatsky.
- From The Path, Sydney, for April-June
HOMAGE TO ULSTER AUTHOR
Hundreds of people crowded the rough-cobbled courtyard of Pogue's Entry, Antrim, on Saturday, to honor the memory of Dr. Alexander Irvine as his ashes were borne from the humble home his writings have immortalized, to be laid in the parish churchyard beneath the simple slab which marks his parents' resting-place.
After the brief service at "The Chimney Corner," which was conducted by the Rev. Robert Craig, Ballymena, and the Rev. William Mitchell, Antrim, four nephews of Dr. Irvine-Thomas, William, and Alexander Scott, and Henry Adams - carried the plain bronze casket from the former Irvine home in Pogue's Entry to Antrim Parish Church, where an impressive service was held. The service was conducted by the Rev. S.P. Kerr, M.A., Antrim, and the Rev. W. Mitchell, B.A., Antrim, also took part.
The Bishop of Down and Dromore (Rt. Rev. W.S. Kerr, D.D.), in a tribute to the memory of Dr. Irvine, said:
"Our admiration goes out to Irvine not only for the ability and determination by which he broke his birth's invidious bar, but for his faithfulness to high ideals. He did not devote himself to the acquisition of wealth or station. Less brilliant, less cultured men than he have done that successfully, and with the world's applause. He gave himself to the unselfish service of man. He was
by turns a newspaper boy on the streets of Antrim, a stable boy, a coal miner in Scotland, a marine with the Gordon Relief Expedition. In America he was a porter, liftman, milk-cart driver and salesman, a mission worker for many years in New York's worst slum, a Congregationalist minister, a farmer, a diocesan lay reader, an actor in a religious play and a lecturer to the forces in the 1914-1918 war. He succeeded in Passing through Yale University, studying his Greek grammar as he went up and down in the lift he operated. As a lecturer and orator he was in the front rank. His books have won him widespread fame."
All the powers of Dr. Irvine's unique personality were spent for the social and moral betterment of the afflicted and downtrodden - the victims of their own folly or of unpropitious fate, the Bishop went on. He never forgot the sore needs of the class from which he sprang. He saw all men as his brethren in Christ and he strove for them as a mission worker and trades union organizer.
It was because of his book, "My Lady of the Chimney Corner," that Dr. Irvine's name was best known and that they were there today to honor his memory. "By his literary genius and his glowing love Alexander Irvine has touched innumerable hearts with his story of the fine-souled, heroic woman, the mother of 12 children, who endured crushing, relentless poverty," said Dr. Kerr. "It shows how an innately beautiful spirit can bloom in the most adverse, depressing conditions. It preaches through the life and lips of Anna Irvine the Gospel that the world needs - the teaching of Jesus Christ simply, honestly, applied in daily life. Many of her sayings should be as treasured as that which was the keynote of her life, and is now inscribed on her tomb, `Love is enough'."
"The lives of Alexander Irvine and his mother impress on us the truths that love is the supreme thing; that the human spirit can rise superior to its environment when it is in touch with the Divine Spirit; that fineness of personality is independent of earthly station. Is it not all another thrilling illustration of the eternal wisdom of our Lord's words? `A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth'."
Mr. J. Herbert Ireland, chairman, on behalf of the trustees of "The Chimney Corner," placed a wreath on Dr. Irvine's grave. - From The Belfast News Letter, Monday, July 29.
" 'TIS ADONAIS CALLS?" *
I think I shall be among the English poets after my death.
(Keats, October 1818)
Hobbs hints blue - straight he turtlo eats
Nobbs prints blue - claret crowns his cup:
Nokes outdares Stokes in azure feats, -
Both gorge. Who fished the murex up?
What porridge had John Keats?
("Popularity," Robert Browning, c. 1850)
If one English poet might be recalled today from the dead to continue the work which he left unfinished on earth, it is probable the crown of his country's desire would be set on the head of John Keats.
(Robert Bridges, 1895)
In 1829, when the question of a biography was broached to her, Fanny Brawne wrote, "I fear the kindest act would be to let him rest forever in the
* Keats and the Victorians. A Study of His Influence and Rise to Fame: 1821-1895. By George H. Ford. (Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.; Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, London, 20s.)
obscurity to which unhappy circumstances have condemned him." Influenced perhaps by the poet's last despairing request that upon his grave should be inscribed, "Here lies one whose name is writ in water," she exaggerated the world's neglect. As poet, Keats already had enough reputation to warrant that very year the issue of a Galignani edition in Paris, and as man, a certain notoriety; a notoriety fostered by the preface to Adonais, in its turn brought to public notice by Shelley's violent death at sea and by the fashionable Byron's comment in Don Juan: -
John Keats, who was killed by one critique,
Just as he really promised something great,
If not intelligible, without Greek,
Contrived to talk about the gods of late,
Much as they might have been supposed to speak.
Poor fellow! his was an untoward fate;
'Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle,
Should let itself be snuffed out by an article.
This concept of Keats as a weak-kneed youth so affected by an attack in the Quarterly that it caused his death crystallized in a phrase common among shallow-gated tourists to Rome who would guffaw over the sad inscription and say, "Yes, in milk-and-water." Those tourists were, however, already visiting the grave on the Monte Testacciio. But over the years, with the avowed admiration of great men, with poets working in a Keatsian mode far removed from the more rudely muscular rhyme of Byron, and with the public-tion of The Life and Letters in 1848, Keats's just fame grew; by the end of the century he was in a high niche of fame, though yet to be fully accepted as thinker, philosopher.
All this, the growing reputation, the change in public taste, has been worked out by Mr. Ford thoroughly and well; carefully documented, though with none of the rather heavy-handed manner of much North American scholarship. Side by side, in admirable proportion, Mr. Ford has pointed to the influence of Keats on Victorian poets who hinted blue, printed blue, using, though with a cunning less subtle, the splendid Tyrian purple, product of that mollusc, the murex, which Browning so dramatically and happily pictured him as fishing up. Tennyson, the idol of mid-Victorians, though coming comparatively late to his turtle and claret, benefited most in a worldly sense: -
There is the extract, flasked and fine,
And priced and saleable at last!
Browning, a sincere lover of Keats though largely divergent in his own work, paid in "Popularity" the greatest tribute to Keats; and Arnold, though he qualified praise, influenced the trend of opinion; but it was the poems of Tennyson, of Swinburne, of the Pre-Raphaelites and especially of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, that prepared the ground for whole-hearted acceptance of Keats; not by virtue of his promise, but in achievement. Mr. Ford in his book puts these men clearly before us in neat strokes of character; the ambitious, touchy Tennyson; the word-intoxicated Swinburne; the robust Morris; Rossetti, violent, intense; and the fastidious-mannered Arnold, that inhibited poet who gave us so little of his finest.
To one poet, however, the first to show the direct influence of Keats, Mr. Ford does not, to my mind, do justice; accusing Thomas Hood of direct plagiarism and giving him far less than his due as a serious poet. As to the sin of conscious plagiarism; Hood, as brother-in-law to Reynolds, Keats's friend, was in a position to know the poems, published and unpublished, but that very connection would have prevented direct
theft; Keats's friends were keenly jealous for his reputation. The truth surely is that Hood, a strong admirer of Keats, was by nature of his peculiar genius strongly imitative and, moreover, wrote the bulk of his serious verse at a time of life when much poetry derives from reverent reading. In his one volume of collected serious verse, The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies, we have a choice of themes, a very use of titles which lay Hood open to this charge of plagiarism so naively as to disarm suspicion; "To Fancy," "Sonnet written in a volume of Shakespeare," "Ode to the Moon," "Ode to Melancholy," "Autumn," and "Ruth," the last poem actually commencing with the lines, "She stood breast high amid the corn." All this was surely rather a loving corollary to Keats than conscious plagiarism. Then as to the quality of the work: Mr. Ford writes,
Indeed we wonder whether, except in his thoroughly individual "Song of the Shirt" and such pieces, Hood was not usually on the wrong track in his serious verse.
Is "Eugene Aram," so grimly powerful, so different in conception and artistry, to be dismissed under the heading of "such pieces"? And much of the early minor verse shows, not only that technical mastery evident in all Hood's work, but a delicate fancy and an ability to convey "atmosphere." There are lapses in language, breaches of word-taste, but are they not to be found in the poems of his master, a far greater man? No, Mr. Ford does less than justice to Thomas Hood's serious verse, and here he is not alone; little attention has been paid to it either by contemporary readers or by posterity. The bulk of The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies lay upon the publisher's shelf until Hood bought it up "to save it from the butter shops."
A poet Mr. Ford has only mentioned in passing, one of the most richly lyrical of the century and a highly individual member of the Pre-Raphaelite group, is Christina Rossetti. Surely in the splendid second stanza of her poem, "A Birthday," to give but one example, she hints blue, prints blue: -
Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves, and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleur-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.
But Mr. Ford's book is so evocative, so stimulating to research, that perhaps the very omissions one finds are a tribute to his general success.
"I think I shall be among the English Poets after my death." That assurance of fame expressed in private to a brother was early justified in a different sense, literally borne out in scarcely one generation from Keats himself when in the thirties a ferment began to work at Cambridge, stimulating the young Tennyson, Richard Monckton Milnes, his future biographer, and other "Apostles," as the group significantly called themselves. Keats was among the English poets in the flesh, a potent influence, a lively ghost, a richly powerful touchstone.
- Dorothy Hewlett,
-In the Aryan Path for July.
BOOKS BY CHARLES JOHNSTON
- Bhagavad Gita ......... cloth $1.25 leather $1.75
- Crest Jewel of Wisdom ........ cloth $1.25
- Great Upanishads, vol. I. ........ cloth $1.50
- Parables of the Kingdom ........ paper .50
- Patanjali's Yoga Sutras ........ cloth $1.25
- Song of Life ........ paper .75
May be had from JOHN WATKINS, 21 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road, London, W.C, 2, England.
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
It is with pleasure we note Mr. and Mrs. W.T. James, two old members of the Society who were very active in the work of the Toronto Lodge in its early days until failing health put a stop to further participation, celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of their wedding last month. An unexpected pleasure was accorded them in the receipt of a cablegram of congratulation from their Majesties the King and Queen. Mr. James was a printer for many years before his retirement during which period he edited the famous Dr. Barnardo's Homes magazine, and also published a book of poems "Rhymes Afloat and Afield". We extend our felicitations and trust that although Mrs. James is in hospital, that their health will enable them to enjoy many more years of wedded bliss.
The American Vegetarian just received has a fine reproduction of a photograph of a picnic held at Centre Island, Toronto, depicting an annual event staged by the Toronto Vegetarian Association. One of the leading lights of the organization is Miss Eva Budd, their very active secretary who is also a member of our Society. We are glad to mention this affair as there is much to be said in favor of the vegetarian way of life, and the pioneers in such a movement have a difficult task on their hands.
We regret to record the passing of an old member of the Society in the person of Miss Myrtle Winterbottom who had been for many years active in the Toronto Lodge. She had served with the late Mr. Felix Belcher as librarian and book steward as far back as 1910. She is survived by her elder sister, Mrs. M. Mackay, whose connection with the same lodge has also been of long duration.
The Editor has a note in the August issue intimating the cutting off of the magazine to members who have not paid their dues by the end of September. It is hoped the hint will have good effect as it is my business to attend to the Mailing List, and the taking-off and restoring to same of those late in remitting causes quite a deal of extra work. Verb. Sap.
A letter has just reached me from Professor Ernest Wood in which he states he expects to arrive at Los Angeles between the 7th and the 14th of September. And he adds "If I can be of a little service to the Canadian Section, T.S., I shall be glad, and I need not say it will be a very great pleasure to meet some of the old friends of twenty years ago." It would facilitate making an itinerary for Prof. Wood if lodges were to write me stating their wishes as to invitations, lectures, etc. These I would collate and forward to him; thus saving time and correspondence.
FAREWELL TO THE REDFEARNES
On August 8th, Mrs. Mathers, President of Hamilton Lodge, gave a farewell party in her home for Mr. and Mrs. Denis P. Redfearne, who left a few days afterwards to take up residence in California. A Chinese vase was presented as a keepsake. Mr. and Mrs. Redfearne are enthusiastic students and energetic workers; and the good wishes of all who contacted them go with them to their new home. Postcards have since been received recording the progress of their motor trip to the West, during which they had seen the Painted Desert, Meteor Valley, Petrified Forests, Grand Canyon, Boulder Dam, Lake Mead, and at Las Vegas, Texas, the verdict was, "all came up to expectation."
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.
E.B. Dustan, 218 Albertus Avenue, Toronto
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
Members of the T.S. in Canada will have their names removed from the mailng list of this magazine unless their dues are paid by October 1st.
The membership of the T.S. in France in 1944, as a result of the war and the German invasion had sunk to zero. In last year's Convention 800 members were reported. This year the membership had risen to 1455. Vive la France!
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.
Russia, it appears, is ruled by an aristocracy of five millions who belong to the Soviets, and to whom the other 175 millions are subservient. As long as the five millions are humane, just and generous there will be no complaint, but human nature is a treacherous thing to depend on. Soviet Russia is suspicious of the English-speaking nations, and is building a navy to equal theirs. We may continue to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
India is a sad example of what organized religion can do to generate envy, hatred, malice and all uncharitableness among otherwise decent and reasonable people. Catholics and Protestants stone each other in Ulster; French Canadians vote against English and vice versa in Quebec irrespective of the merits of candidates; but in India nothing but murder seems to satisfy the religious rancour of the people. England finds it difficult to help India to political independence as she has found it in past generations. But an honest effort is now being made to solve the problem. Theosophy could have Helped but the right approach was never found and the Society has less influence than might have been expected after two generations.
To the general public the death of Herbert George Wells was unexpected, sudden, even premature. But he had been ailing for some time anal the last time he had left his home was at the General Election last year. The London Daily Herald observed that more than any other one man he had been responsible for Socialist England. Is the Fabian Society so easily forgotten with Bernard Shaw still surviving? Wells was born in 1866. To Henry James he once said that he had no interest in being a literary artist. However, his three
novels, Kipps, Mr. Polly, Tono Bungay, are considered the best pieces of genre comedy since Dickens. Mr. Britling Sees It Through was a fine novel of the first World War. Like many others Wells missed the Theosophical bus, or he might have rivalled Shaw.
Torn by what is virtually civil war, the North American Continent is suffering more in its social and domestic affairs than it did in the same time during the war. This all due to the ignorance of the masses on the value of money. Money is only of value for what it can buy. If a man pays $30 for a suit of clothes for which he formerly paid $15, then his $30 in money is really only worth $15. The money value of his wages declines accordingly. The failure to produce more goods therefore causes the value of wages to shrink no matter what the nominal value may be said to be. Then the people who bought bonds begin to sell them, forgetting, if they ever knew, that they must pay in taxes to the people or banks to whom they sell them, the full value of the bonds as well as the interest they carry. In the legerdemain of taxation all this is lost sight of, but the people have to pay all losses eventually whether caused by war or strikes.
When Mr. Perkins in his letter which appears on another page intimates that he disapproves of controversial correspondence in theosophical magazines, he raises as controversial an issue as Theosophy itself which is probably the most controversial question before the world today. Controversial problems are shunned by those who do not know the answers which the world needs. Any newspaper or magazine that closes its columns to controversial questions is apt to become dull, flat, stale and unprofitable to its readers, unless they belong to the "me too" class of which the churches and other dogmatic bodies are composed. Theosophy has no dogmas and must therefore show reason for the faith it holds, and this means controversy of the most lively and intelligent character. Ignorance is the cause of all our differences, so ignorance must be dispelled, and there is no other way of doing it than by unerring and persistent controversy. Errors are soon revealed, and the truth shines brightest when polished by reason and persuasive evidence.
During the month of August we received the following magazines: Theosophy in Australia, June-August; Theosophy in New Zealand, July-September; Revista Teosofica Argentina, July-August; Theosophy in Ireland, April-June; The Golden Lotus, August; Devenir VII, July; The Aryan Path, Malabar Hill, Baroda, India, July; The American Theosophist, August; The Theosophical Movement, June; Toronto Theosophical News, August; Theosophia, Room 240 Western Bldg., 553 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles, July-August; Naturista, Rio de Janeiro, June; Evolucion, Buenos Aires, June; The Bombay Theosophical Bulletin, June; The Round Robin, vol. ii., No. 8, 3615 Alexis Place, San Diego, Cal.; The Path, Sydney, N.S.W., April-June; Baconiana, 31 Bedford Row, London, W.C. 1, July; Ancient Wisdom, July; East-West, Los Angeles, Sept.-October; The Modern Mystic and Monthly Science Review, 82 Victoria Street, London, S.W. 1, August; Circulaire d'Informations, T.S. in France, 4 Square Rapp, Paris VII, July.
THE CHRISTIAN THEOSOPHIST
offers valuable hints for the study of the Gospels in the light of ancient tradition and modern science. For specimen copy apply to the Editor, Mon Abri, Chorley Wood, Herts, England.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF LOTUS LODGE
August 22, 1946.
To President and Members
of the Lotus Lodge,
I have reecived through your President, Mrs. Ann Leslie Roger, your Resolution that the Lotus Lodge withdraws its membership from the Theosophical Society at Adyar, the Parent Theosophical Society. The Resolution will be placed in the Archives of the Society.
I have now only to wish that all of you, devoted to the Theosophical ideals, will help in every possible way the cause of Humanity and work specially for what the Masters said was the true need of Humanity, surely the first and foremost of all "original programmes"
The Chiefs want a "Brotherhood of Humanity", a real Universal Fraternity started; an institution which would make itself known throughout the world and arrest the attention of the highest minds.
There is so much to be done to spread the great ideals of our philosophy that it little matters under what labels or teachers the truths are given to mankind.
With all good wishes for your future work,
C. Jinarajadasa, President.
Adyar, Madras, India.
August 20, 1946.
Mrs. Anna E. Winner,
253 S. 9th Street,
Philadelphia 7, Pa., U.S.A.
Dear Mrs. Winner,
I duly received your letter and noted also that you had it published in The Canadian Theosophist.
Now that with all the other members of Lotus Lodge you have resigned your membership in the Parent Theosophical Society there is little object in my arguing the points in your letter. Since you are convinced that you are right and I am convinced that I am right, the best that each of us can do is, in a spirit of friendship, each to follow his own ideal.
LOTUS LODGE DESERTS T.S.
Olcott, Wheaton, Illinois.
September 7, 1946.
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist: -
Contained in the article "Some Sentences" - August Canadian Theosophist - are misstatements by Mrs. Roger and misconstruction put upon correspondence she has had both with International Headquarters and the Headquarters of The Theosophical Society in America. The extent to which the statements diverge from strict truth can be judged from the account your informant gives of Mr. Cook's presence in India "receiving appointment as International Vice-President so that doubtless he was able to advise the New President, Mr. Jinarajadasa, on the best way to uphold the American officials." Since Mr. Cook has never yet been to India, the idle interpretation of his activities collapses. Mrs. Roger just as easily interprets other matters to suit her pleasure as, for example, when she refers to the officials of The Theosophical Society in America having "reason for attempting to dissolve Lotus Lodge." This Society certainly sought no reason to dissolve Lotus Lodge. It was only with sadness and heavy heartedness that the new administration took up the burden of separative action already set in motion by that Lodge's various resolutions.
I cannot understand how any group of Theosophists can take delight in such
divisive action within the Society. Nor can I understand how our Theosophical journals can uphold their integrity if we choose to print contentious matters, such as the Roger letter, with little or no effort to ascertain facts. I can only hope that the day will come when our few precious Theosophical pages will go forth into the world carrying only the message of Truth, of which the world is in such need.
James S. Perkins,
MR. COOK'S CONFIRMATION
September 9, 1946.
Mr. Albert E.S. Smythe
5 Rockwood Place Hamilton,
Dear Friend Smythe:
On page 190 to 192 of the August 15 issue of The Canadian Theosophist there appears a statement under the caption "Some Sentences" relative to the relationship between Lotus Lodge and the American and International Societies. As General Secretary of The American Society, I had some part in the correspondence referred to, and it is because my name appears in the statement several times that I may perhaps ask for a little of your space.
I left the office of General Secretary over a year ago. It may be rightly assumed that I have had nothing whatever to do with the matter of Lotus Lodge since relinquishing that official responsibility. One of the difficulties in the correspondence arose from the unending imputation to me of motives, purposes and allegances that did not exist, and the continual placing in my mouth of words and statements I never expressed.
The letter appearing on page 190 avers; among other things, that I was in India and clearly conveys the inference that while there, I influenced Mr. Jinarajadasa in his decisions regarding the Lotus Lodge matter. This is typical of the inaccuracies, both of fact and supposition, throughout the statement and the correspondence to which it makes reference, for I have not yet been in India, and since leaving the office of General Secretary over a year ago, have not participated in discussions or decisions regarding Lotus Lodge.
The "volume of letters" in the hands of your correspondent contains my direct avowal of the "Adept Founders and the Original Message." The point at issue during the time that I carried on the correspondence was not this, though there was constant effort to place the alleged denial in my mouth. The issue was entirely different for I took the stand that no lodge of The Theosophical Society could adopt Objects other than those of the Society, and especially had no power to compel those who would join the Society through the lodge to accept the Objects of a number of other organizations to which the lodge desired to become affiliated, and to whose Objects, often unstated, it also thereby compelled adherence.
It still seems to me that The Theosophical Society has no right to place barriers in the way of membership through any one of its lodges; that the broad Catholicity of the Three Objects may not be circumscribed, and that the Objects and purposes of other organizations may not be appended to our own with the effect that new members thereby be required directly or indirectly to acknowledge such additional purposes and objects. I maintain that all that The Theosophical Society may rightly do, all that its members may be called upon to adhere to, are fully provided for in the Objects of the Society, as stated, and that attempted, limitations thereupon are out of order; that any lodge may limit its studies and activities within the three stated Objects, but that it may not require of
its members; or prospective members, adherence to the more limited or entirely different purposes of other organizations.
On this point there is undoubtedly room for difference of opinion but this alone was the issue despite all efforts make it appear otherwise.
Sidney A. Cook.
The foregoing letters are the result of the withdrawal of the Lotus Lodge, Philadelphia, from the T.S., an incident that has been a painful disappointment to me. I had such a conception of the devotion to and interest in Theosophy that I had come to regard the members of this Lodge as among those who, as Mr. Judge put it, could not be shaken out. Red tape, however, appears to have been too much for them. Still, they must have missed the full meaning of of Universal Brotherhood or they would not have deserted. Perhaps if a little more effort had been made to facilitate the transmission of their application to Adyar for attachment to Headquarters the result might have been different. The point to be emphasized now is the non-dogmatic platform of the Society. Perfect freedom is guaranteed every member to advocate any views he may hold so long as he does not force these views on his Fellows. This is fundamental, and distinguishes the Society from all Churches and sectarian bodies, as the letters printed above plainly agree. We may not like our brother's views, but this must not mar our tolerance. I do not believe that our Philadelphia friends would willingly or deliberately misrepresent any one. The correspondence was prolonged and confused and there was plenty of room in such a lengthy exchange, for misunderstanding. I myself quite innocently contributed to one error - that Mr. Cook had gone to India. When he distributed his booklet of editorial articles I formed the impression that it was a farewell gift prior to his departure. Then I was left off The Theosophist mailing list for six months, from October till March, and had no means of knowing what was afoot in India, being confined to the house and in hospital so that I did not hear of the death even of H.G. Wells for three weeks, having been in hospital, so that it came to me as a real surprise to hear that Mr. Cook had never left Wheaton. Let us all remember that mistakes can always be corrected. And this, let me add, is a good reason for controversial correspondence, to which Mr. Perkins registers such a strong objection.
As The Canadian Theosophist has reproduced the article in Theosophy for April on Carey McWilliams' slanders of Katharine Tingley and Point Loma students, I beg leave to make a few remarks which may throw a different light on some of the statements in Theosophy which indicate that the writer is very badly misinformed. I refer particularly to the statements about `succession', such as "There is absolutely no evidence of any sort that Mr. Judge thought Mrs. Tingley or anyone else as his `successor', nor that the mysterious talk of `Promise' was anything more than a frantic fabrication of foolish students, who felt that they must have some figurehead for a `leader'." Then E.T. Hargrove is quoted as saying that Mrs. Tingley was run in as "the only person in sight who was ready to hand at that time . . . a sort of neutral centre round which we could congregate . . ", and the old fable is revived that occultism is opposed to the principle of "apostolic succession." We are also told that "Certain `private papers' of Mr. Judge, said to bear out this claim; were never produced."
We had all hoped that the rotting
remains of these old and exploded charges had long ago received a decent burial, but it seems that eternal vigilance is the only price of safety and if a false rumor is given a fair start Truth has great difficulty in overtaking it.
I may say here that I have had the privilege of being a working member of the Theosophical Society ever since the beginning of the so-called "Judge Case" in 1894 in which I took an active part in Mr. Judge's defence.
Among this mix-up which must be straightened out for future reference we may all agree that on one occasion during a newspaper controversy in 1892 Mr. Judge did write that H.P.B. never contemplated or notified a successor, but as it can be shown that H.P.B. actually contemplated a successor on several occasions it seems probable that he was carried away for the moment by his righteous indignation aroused by the preposterous claims of a certain H.B. Foulkes to have been nominated by H.P.B. to succeed her in the Esoteric School of Theosophy! He was striking hard blows and in the heat of battle he may not have meticulously weighed his words; or momentarily had forgotten certain facts. Poor Mr. Foulkes seems to have thought that his feeble psychic or mediumistic attainments warranted his demand, but W.Q. Judge boldly declared that H.P.B.'s status was sui generis, unique, a word that rightly applies to her magnificent intellectual and spiritual endowments, her control of the higher potencies in Nature and her absolute consecration to the Masters and their Cause, all and more combined in one individual.
Whatever the explanation may be, we have positive record that H.P. Blavatsky had long contemplated and searched for a successor sufficiently qualified to "keep the link unbroken," the link she spoke of with her last breath, apparently, referring to the need for wise guidance during the period before the great effort toward the end of the twentieth century.
Col. Olcott says in his Old Diary Leaves, i, 462, that H.P. Blavatsky often spoke to him about possible successors, and there is one passage in a letter from him to Miss Francesca Arundale dated "9.2.85 Adyar" which proves that an occult successor, apparently Damodar, was envisaged. He writes: "Again our Master snatched her from the jaws of death . . . Damodar goes to Tibet for development; and if she should die before his return I am to be the temporary link between the Masters and the T.S. These are his orders but I shall be a sorry substitute. However let us hope that I may not be called upon for that but that they will keep her alive until her successor can be sent." (The Theosophist, September 1932, p. 732. Italics mine.)
Rather earlier than this, according to H.P.B. and W.Q.J., Mrs. Laura Holloway almost `made the grade.' She was part author of Man, Fragments of Forgotten History which the Master desired to see published in spite of some errors (see The Mahatma Letters, p. 361). She was a remarkable woman and an intimate friend of Mr. Judge. In a letter from Mr. Judge to Col. Olcott written from Paris in April 1884 when the former was helping H.P.B. with The Secret Doctrine, he says there is a possibility of getting "a magnificent co-adjutor, if not a successor to H.P.B. and one who has trained scientific methods of literary work, as well as psychical abilities of the kind that make H.P.B. so remarkable".
Furthermore, he thinks that the Masters would let H.P.B. have her desire and "vanish" if the person mentioned would do, and says that while someone was extolling that lady "H.P.B. leaned back and said `O my God, if I shall only find in her a SUCCESSOR, how gladly I Will PEG OUT'." (The Theoso-
ist, November 1931) However, Mrs. Holloway was not found to be properly qualified, for reasons given in The Mahatma Letters, pp. 359-61.
Some years later, H.P. Blavatsky was still looking for a successor. Quoting from Countess Wachtmeister's H.P.B. and the Present Crisis in the Theosophical Society pamphlet, page 3, we read: "H.P.B. always told me that her successor would be a woman, long before Annie Besant became a member of the T.S. She made various attempts with different people, hoping to find one .. . ." The Countess then speaks `of H.P.B.'s high estimate of Mrs. Besant and quotes her letter to W.Q. Judge in March 191, shortly before her death, wherein she writes "Judge, she is a most wonderful woman, my right hand, my successor, when I will be forced to leave you, my sole hope in England as you are my sole hope in America." We all know that for a while Mrs. Besant was Co-Outer Head of the Esoteric School with Mr. Judge. It is worth mentioning in view of controversial statements, that part of the letter from which the above sentence is quoted was published in slightly but significantly garbled form to suit a certain point of view, not Judge's, during the troubles in the T.S. in 1894 and later. Mrs. Archibald Keightley showed me the original letter for comparison.
There can be no doubt that H.P.B. was definitely and with good occult reasons looking for a successor. Even in The Secret Doctrine vol. i, we find her modestly saying "In Century the Twentieth some disciple more informed and far better fitted, may be sent by the Masters of Wisdom to give final and irrefutable proofs that there exists a Science called Gupta-Vidya . . ." This may refer to the Leader who is expected toward the last quarter of the century. Her published letters show her high estimate of the real W.Q.J., the Nirmanakaya, the one who was, as she said: "part of herself for eons," etc., terms such as she never used about anyone else, and that he was quite capable of filling the immediate vacancy in the E.S. with dignity and occult qualifications. Of course neither he nor anyone else was "unique" in the special sense that H.P.B. was, but in one letter she writes that he must ultimately "take her place at Adyar" and that it would be no more difficult for him to work under the exoteric Presidency of Olcott than it was for her to do so. (The Theosophical Forum, May 1930) She was of course referring to the Direction of the E.S.T.
Then there is the testimony of a private and personal letter written just before her death to W.Q.J. from which I have quoted the sentence about successorship in England and America, and which he, in harmony with his scrupulous sense of honor and fair-dealing placed before the E.S. Council on May 27, 1891, the earliest possible date after H.P. Blavatsky's death. It was this letter which largely if not entirely caused the Council to place Annie Besant and W.Q. Judge together as Co-Outer Heads or `successors.' The Master approved of this decision and endorsed it by his brief message "Judge's Plan is right"; which was whole-heartedly accepted by Annie Besant, the entire Council and W.Q.J. himself. Some weeks after, she frankly and generously acknowledged Mr. Judge's higher occult standing in a letter dated July 2 addressed to esotericists who did not want to accept her Co-Headship with him. She wrote, "If I could, I would say to you, my dear --- sign only to Mr. Judge. I should be quite content, for indeed there is no reason why you should have any confidence in me. Only as They have put us together, I have no power to stand aside." (The Path, June 1895, p. 100).
That Mr. Judge fully accepted the principle and the fact of successorship
is finally demonstrated by his proclamation in the famous November 3 Circular wherein he declares Master's Order that Annie Besant's Co-Headship is at an end and says: ". . . I resume in the E.S.T. in full all the functions and powers given to me by H.P.B. . . . and that came by orderly succession after her passing from this life, and declare myself the sole Head of the E.S.T." (italics mine).
It would be farcical to imagine that when Mr. Judge wrote the italicized words he did not believe in the principle of occult succession!
Now in regard to the principle of apostolic succession in general, which we are told once more was condemned by H.P.B. as a "gross and palpable fraud" it is regrettable that this old and unjustified mistake has been rehashed. The statement was first made, I believe, in The Theosophical Movement in 1925 and discussed in The Canadian Theosophist and elsewhere about thirteen years ago when Mr. August E. Neresheimer charged certain persons with the production of fraudulent documents to sustain the claim that Katherine Tingley was W.Q. Judge's successor; which charge I will discuss later. It was shown that H.P.B.'s denunciation referred to the Roman Catholic claim to the apostolic succession alleged to have been transmitted from Simon Barjona to the present day by the laying on of hands; and which is believed by the faithful to give priests supernatural authority to bind and loose sinners, etc., etc. She calls this "a gross and palpable fraud" and "an imposition alike upon priest and penitent." It does not bear any application outside the Roman Church.
In The Theosophical Movement, p. 362 and as subsequently used by writers who ought to have been more careful, the quotation from Isis Unveiled ii, 544, reads: "The present volumes have been written to small purpose if they have not shown . . . that . . . apostolic succession is a gross and palpable fraud." This is verbatim, including the dots. By the omission of the small but very important word "the" before the words "apostolic succession" H.P.B.'s meaning was transformed to support the argument against any kind of succession and especially in the Theosophical Society. However, it must be said in justice, that this time the Isis quotation is repeated, (in Theosophy for April) it has been given correctly, as "the apostolic succession", but of course the whole argument against apostolic succession in Theosophy or occultism is thereby vitiated! We must look elsewhere to find H.P.B.'s attitude toward the succession of esoteric Teachers or Leaders. This has been shown in part in the earlier pages of this letter, but I would add that not only does she discuss and approve of it but she mentions it as a normal proceeding. In terrestrial and human evolution there are the Manus; a succession of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; the 28 Vyasas, etc. She specifically mentions succession among the Druses, and cites the transference of spiritual wisdom and leadership from Moses to Joshua on Mount Nebo, after which the former had to die, and there is also the giving of the mantle of Elijah to his successor Elisha. Various references to the system occur in The Complete Works of H.P. Blavatsky, centenary edition. (Rider and Co.) The Tibetan Lama system is one of rigid succession, and as, according to H.P.B., the Masters are in touch with the highest Lamas and have schools of chelaship in some of the gompas, they can hardly disapprove of it in occult training.
H.P.B. gives an interesting case of the general principle in Isis ii, 42, footnote, where she describes the tragic death of a Russian magician whose designated successor was forcibly prevented from reaching him in time. Though this was not a case of white
magic it serves to illustrate the ancient custom of occult successorship, carried on by the passing on of the mysterious "Word which is no word," for she writes that it can be traced "to the old Mysteries which had been for ages spread all over the globe." Therefore though capable of being misused it is very high in its origin. Frazer's Golden Bough contains a vast amount of information on the wide-world practice of the succession of Hierophants, though of course he only deals with the exoteric and folklore aspects.
In regard to the remarks in April Theosophy, against which I strongly protest, the statement that Mrs. Tingley was "run in as O (uter) H (ead) " as an emergency measure would be laughable, if it were not so mischievous. Mr. Neresheimer's respected name is brought in to support this point of view, though he never held it. Of course his affidavit as quoted is honest, though its terms did not hinder him from enthusiastically supporting Katherine Tingley and her work for at least thirty-two years! But the writer in Theosophy has failed to observe or at least to inform the reader that Mr. Neresheimer was speaking only of the affairs of the Theosophical Society and makes no mention of the Esoteric School, whose Outer Headship is the point in question. It is no doubt correct that no papers were seen by Mr. Neresheimer "naming Mrs. Tingley or anyone else, directly or indirectly, as his successor in the affairs of the Theosophical Society in America" as he declared on oath, but there were papers to show that Mr. Judge had been contemplating for many months an esoteric successor in the person of "Promise" (Mrs. Tingley) through whom he believed that H.P.B. would come and help. Without having given an explicit nomination in writing, which we are told is not the best way in occultism, Mr. Judge left notes on this subject which are so plain and showed such confidence in Katherine Tingley that even had there been no other reasons for their action the Council could not reasonaby have done anything but accept her as the rightful successor in the E.S.T. The convenient stop-gap "run in" excuse offered by E.T. Hargrove was declared much later on when it suited his purposes.
One of the most important pieces of evidence, perhaps not familiar to the writer in Theosophy, was published in The Searchlight of May 1898, p. 30. It was written by Mrs. Archibald Keightley ("Jasper Niemand") one of Mr. Judge's closest and most trusted friends, and also close friend and associate of E.T. Hargrove. Many Theosophists thought she might well be Mr. Judge's successor. Her statement is the best evidence of Katherine Tingley's standing, long before Mr. Judge's death, that could be desired. She writes: "It is well known to members of the Inner Council in America and Europe that the present Outer Head (Mrs. Tingley) has for two years past assisted Mr. Judge in the inner work of the school as his associate and equal. Some of these Councillors were doing important work under her direction, and by the order of Mr. Judge, for some time before he passed away. The present Outer Head had the entire confidence of Mr. Judge and has that of the Council. The Council, composed of members in America and Europe, is in entire harmony on this point, and especially those members of it who were in close touch with H.P.B. during her lifetime . . . For myself, I may say that as early as June 1894 Mr. Judge told me of the standing of the present Outer Head of the School . . . Of his appointment of the present Outer Head there is absolutely no doubt; and there is also no doubt of her entire ability to fill that appointment; or of her right to it; or that it came from and was directed by the Master."
There is not much about anyone being run in as a "neutral centre" in this solemn declaration of E.T. Hargrove's devoted friend! It is hardly necessary to add more on this point, but I cannot help quoting a few words published by Hargrove himself and then leave the reader to decide on the credibility of
that gentleman whose simple statement is so innocently swallowed by the poorly informed writer who tries to resuscitate the moldering errors of the past. E.T. Hargrove writes in an editorial in Theosophy for 1896 pp. 67-68 (the name given to The Path by Mr. Judge just before his death).
"An attack appeared in a New York Newspaper whose reporter had been instructed, as he informed one of our number, `to tear Theosophy to pieces.' This attack was directed against Mrs. Katherine A. Tingley, a member of the Theosophical Society in America, a personal friend of Mr. Judge's and Outer Head of the `E.S.T.', to which position she was appointed by Mr. Judge in papers left by him." (italics mine). E.T. Hargrove then goes on to pay a high tribute of respect and regard to Mrs. Tingley's past and present activities. The editorial is signed E.T.H.
Now about the most unwarranted charge of all, i.e., that alleged "foolish students" - really some of the oldest and most responsible members in America - fabricated "the mysterious talk about `Promise', certain "messages and quotations" claimed to be in Mr. Judge's handwriting; forged them in fact, in
order to persuade the E.S. members that Mrs. Tingley was the right person to be recognized as Outer Head. These papers were found among Mr. Judge's things after his death and have been associated with several diaries or notebooks that he kept. These record books, with the exception of one that was handed to Mr. Neresheimer by Mrs. Tingley in 1928, are in the Covina archives. The messages and quotations are not intrinsic parts of any of the diaries, but are written on separate loose sheets of paper, large and small, and all are also in the archives. Mr. Neresheimer seemingly expected to find the writings on the pages of the diary he received from Mrs. Tingley, but not finding them he was much disturbed and unhappily jumped to the conclusion that there was something very wrong and that, in his own words, they "could only have been concocted by Mrs. Tingley assisted by Mr. Hargrove and Mr. J.H. Fussell." Mr. Neresheimer's honorable reputation for fair dealing gained considerable vogue for this serious charge against two living men and one dead woman, and the whole question was thrashed out in The Canadian Theosophist for 1932-3. Although you, Mr. Smythe, then as now Editor of this journal, took Mr. Neresheimer's part at the outset of the discussion, writing a condemnatory article in The Canadian Theosophist for May 1932 entitled "Mr. Judge's alleged Diary" and signed A.E.S.S., after hearing all the evidence you frankly and honorably withdrew the statements and in January 1933 wrote and published what you rightly hoped would be taken as an amende honorable.
In addition to the charge of fabrication the writer in Theosophy repeats the statement that the "private papers" were never produced. This is easily shown to be another misstatement, arising from ignorance we must suppose, for when Dr. G. de Purucker, former Leader of the Theosophical Society, Covina, established a temporary headquarters at Oakley House, Bromley, near London, from September 1932 to November 1933, he invited Miss M.A. Thomas, an active member of the United Lodge of Theosophists, to inspect the originals in Mr. Judge's handwriting of the disputed "messages and quotations." She declared herself perfectly satisfied that they were genuine. Dr. H.N. Stokes of the O.E. Library
Critic took the matter up in his magazine and his complete and impartial analysis of the documents is to be found in a long series of issues in Vols. xxi to xxii (1932-34). He was sent photographic copies of the disputed papers, and his verdict was emphatically against the possibility that they could be "fabrications", "concoctions", or anything but what they appear to be, Mr. Judge's private notes and instructions in support of Katherine Tingley's ("Promise" as he called her at that time) high occult standing, and of the confidence he felt in her. So much for the misleading statement that the papers were never produced. The writer in Theosophy would perhaps find the two series of letters and articles in The Canadian and in the O. E. Critic instructive as well as interesting.
One more matter, important, and I shall have covered most of the ground. It concerns what happened after the publication of Mr. Neresheimer's charge of "concoction", as already discussed. In brief, Mr. and Mrs. Neresheimer were invited to Point Lorna in 1932 where, on August 25 and in the presence of responsible witnesses Captain John R. Beaver, Mr. Olaf Tyberg, and Mrs. Tyberg, (the latter a resident today at the Covina headquarters) Mr. J.H. Fussell showed them a number of the "messages and quotations" disputed by Mr. Neresheimer. After careful examination Mr. Neresheimer, who knew Mr. Judge's handwriting very well, declared that he was perfectly satisfied that they were in his handwriting and perfectly genuine. He also acknowledged the authenticity of the Judge Diaries or Record Books.
Mr. Neresheimer then undertook to publish a written statement endorsing the authenticity of the documents and withdrawing his charges which were evidently made under a strange misapprehension, but unfortunately this was never done. Mr. Neresheimer died in 1937. I was told that he thought it better to let sleeping dogs lie. Unfortunately, however, they often wake up and try to bite, as in the present case, and so prevention is better than cure.
Feeling anxious about future possibilities, when Mrs. Neresheimer visited Covina not very long ago I asked her if she could do anything to set the question finally at rest, so that these unjustified charges would trouble us no longer.
In regard to the interview at Point Loma where Mrs. Neresheimer was present and about which her evidence - and Mrs. Tyberg's, they being the only living witnesses today - is of the first importance, Mrs. Neresheimer responded at once, and very kindly wrote me a letter stating that the facts of the interview at Point Loma had occurred as outlined above. This letter is preserved in the Covina archives, wherein the long and animated correspondence between Mr. Fussell, Mr. Tyberg and Mr. Neresheimer that was exchanged after the production of the latter's Reminiscences of William Q. Judge containing the original charges is also in safe-keeping.
In the Reminiscences Mr. Neresheimer says that on March 22, 1896, the day after Mr. Judge laid aside his wornout frame, Mrs. Tingley told him that he had appeared twice in the night to her in distress because he could not impress his wishes on his former associates. The Covina archives contain a letter from Mr. Neresheimer to Mrs. Alice L. Cleather dated March 31, 1891, advising her that the "Rajah" (his higher Nirmanakaya aspect which H.P.B. once called "Maharajah") had come through and given complete instructions as to the management of the Esoteric School and its control by Katherine Tingley as Outer Head; and other directions about the T.S. Mrs. Cleather was to be added to the Council. These instructions, according to this letter, were very detailed and amply justify
all that was done by the Council. Mr. Neresheimer displays the greatest enthusiasm and delight that everything had turned out so well under occult direction. Thirty-four years afterwards, when he wrote the ill-advised remarks in his Reminiscences which have caused such anxiety, he must have entirely forgotten what he wrote in the letter to Mrs. Cleather which has been quietly resting in the archives all the time.
- Charles J. Ryan.
THE LINEAGE OF ENGLISH PHILOSOPHY
The passing, on Jan. 31, 1946, of W. Macneile Dixon, almost without notice by the Western world - without mention, at least, in the American press - marks the end of a notable cycle of philosophy in English thought. The fact that the death of this eminent thinker brought little or no comment on his extraordinary contributions to modern civilization is evidence of the impoverishment of present-day intellectuality. Although the silence of the American press is relieved somewhat by Norman Cousins' reference to Dixon in Modern Man Is Obsolete, and by the occasional enthusiasms of other admirers, the full significance of his greatest work, The Human Situation, seems to have been lost to the great majority of critics and essayists. Perhaps theosophists alone have the historical perspective that makes possible a just appreciation of his profound analysis of Western culture.
While many have been able to see, in Dixon's words, that, "Prisoners we are of our age," the further diagnosis he offers establishes a unique foundation for criticism of modern thought and the basis for deeply intuitive reconstruction in philosophy. Writing of the "polished structure" of science, he shows that the import of scientific theory is "that the world, life, all things should be wholly senseless, without meaning," and if you ask, "What is this power everywhere at work throughout the universe doing this stupendous energy?" the answer is, "It is doing nothing; it is a lunatic energy, making and breaking, building up and knocking down, endlessly and aimlessly.". . . . The prison of the age is its Materialism, whose subjective limitations confine the human spirit to the gross calculations of the senses:
"On every side today you meet with an exaltation of the intellect at the expense of the spirit. You may trust, it is said, your thoughts but not your aspirations . . . Nature is rent asunder. You enthrone the measuring, weighing, calculating faculty of the human creature. His remaining attributes are irrelevant. But who told you that nature had drawn this line? Where did you learn of this preference? Nature has no preferences. If she has given us deceiving souls, how can you argue that she has given us trustworthy intellects? . . . . We should at least, then, aim at a conclusion which the intellect can accept and the heart approve."
Unlike the many generations of mere commentators on Plato, who, as H.P. Blavatsky said, almost all shrink from every passage which implies that his metaphysics are based on a solid foundation, and not on ideal conceptions, Dixon moves from the criterion set in the foregoing passage to affirm the soul's immortality, disarming his critics by the impartiality of his development. Intuition, he says, which has as great a claim on credibility as reason or science, tells us that the future already belongs to us, "that we should bear it continually in mind, since it will be ours."
So closely are all human ideals associated with futurity that, in the absence of the faith that man is an immortal being, it seems doubtful whether they
could ever have come to birth... Are there any indications in nature or human nature upon which to found this - the hope that even Schopenhauer could with difficulty forgo, when he wrote, "In the furthest depth of our being we are secretly conscious of our share in the inexhaustible spring of etnnity, so that we can always hope to find life in it again."
Dixon's approach leads inescapably to the doctrine of Reincarnation:
And what kind of immortality is at all conceivable? Of all doctrines of a future life, palingenesis or rebirth, which carries with it the idea of pre-existence, is by far the most ancient and most widely held . . . . And though this doctrine has for European thought a strangeness, it is in fact the most natural and easily imagined, since what has been can be again. . . It has made the tour of the world, and seems, indeed, to be in accordance with nature's own favorite way of thought, of which she so insistently reminds us, in her rhythms and recurrences, her cycles and evolving seasons. "It presents itself," wrote Schopenhauer, "as the natural conviction of man whenever he reflects at all in an unprejudiced manner." . . . from infancy every forgotten day and hour has added to our experiences, to our growth and capacity. All that a child was and did, though unremembered, is still a part of him and is knit up into his present nature. Every day and hour had its value and made its contribution to the mind and soul. So it may be with former lives, each of them but a day in our past history. The universe is wide, and life here or elsewhere might on this view be regarded as a self prescription, a venture willed by the soul for some end and through some prompting of its own, to enlarge its experience, learn more of the universe, recover lost friends, or resume a task begun but not fulfilled.
Whence these majestic conceptions in modern thought? What were the wells of Dixon's inspiration, the lines of his philosophic heredity and descent? To answer these questions, we must turn to the long sweep of English history, finding in the distant past the currents of the larger theosophical movement which have flowed through the centuries, to emerge but recently in a small group of philosophers.
The antecedents of these contemporary idealists were clearly the Cambridge Platonists of seventeenth-century England. Wise in the science of their day, and schooled in precise Cartesian thinking, they nevertheless rejected the materialism toward which Descartes had directed the awakening Western intellectuality. This was a period of dramatic destiny for England and for the West. The preceding epoch had seen the break with Rome under Henry VIII; the educational reforms of the Oxford Reformers, Colet, Erasmus and More, had been established, and Shakespeare's genius had brought to the already rich culture of the Elizabethan period an impersonal profundity unequalled to the present day. In seventeenth-century England, the line of occult doctrine was represented by Robert Fludd and other disciples of the Rosicrucians and Paracelsus; mystical religion was spread by followers of Boehme; the turbulent political history of the time was matched by great religious reforms, the strenuous search for truth being symbolized by John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. In the middle years of the century; Milton wrote his noble Areopagitica, and the next generation witnessed the founding of the Royal Society, and later came publication of Newton's Principia - consolidating the Copernican revolution.
Against this colorful background of momentous political and moral events, the Combridge Platonists offered their wise leaven of philosophy, refining the scientific conceptions and broadening
the religious thought of the age. Newton himself adopted the doctrines expounded by Henry More, as the metaphysical foundation for his scientific conceptions. The Platonists, Ralph Cudworth, John Smith, More, and others exerted a truly civilizing influence on all their contemporaries, rendering the moral inspiration of the Renaissance into an English idiom for future generations.
Except for the lonely figure, Thomas Taylor, in the eighteenth century, English thought reveals no similar idealism until the early 1900's, when there appeared a nucleus of philosophers who seemed specially born to carry on the tradition established centuries earlier. A trio of these thinkers may be named as representing a virtual "reincarnation" of the Cambridge Platonists - certainly, a rebirth of their philosophic ardor and mellow humanity.
The first of the three, John McTaggart Ellis MeTaggart, an avowed Hegelian, presented a finished argument for Reincarnation in his Studies in Hegelian Cosmology, and demolished the theological defenses of the personal-god idea in Some Dogmas of Religion. McTaggart was a formal metaphysician who gained the deep admiration of scholars and the devoted loyalty of his students. Hegel, he said, was concerned with the greater questions of cosmology and general laws, and therefore neglected the obvious application of his philosophy in Palingenesis, or Reincarnation. In Mc-Taggart's books, this teaching reaches a kind of speculative perfection, in academic form.
The second of the trio is G. Lowes Dickinson, essayist and educator, author of an important study of the first world war and a leading British pacifist of that epoch. Dickinson's writings are notable for their simplicity. His Is Immortality Desirable? presents the arguments for reincarnation in a less studied fashion than McTaggart's severe logic, but more within the comprehension of the common man. Dickinson's travel essays on the Orient show an intuitive grasp of the difference between the dynamically aggressive West and the impassive, philosophical East.
If McTaggart brought the Hegelian system into individual focus in the doctrine of reincarnation, and if Dickinson, almost alone among Western scholars, revealed a true understanding of Oriental mysticism, Dixon, for many years professor of English literature at the University of Edinburgh, returned to the fountain of Helenic inspiration and made the grandeur of Greek philosophy a living power in Western thought. Hellas Revisited, written during a journey through the region of ancient Greek civilization, recreates the spirit of the classical past for the modern reader. Dixon has written other books of charm and power; one, The Englishman, is a delightful appreciation of the Anglo-Saxon race and temperament. But his greatest work, surpassing in universality both McTaggart and Dickinson, and standing above his own previous writings as a mountain towers over humble foothills, is The Human Situation, a summation of the best in the Western philosophical tradition.
The Human Situation is made up of th Gifford Lectures presented at the University of Glasgow from 1935 to 1937. In them all the Theosophical fundamentals are clearly present. Founded on the thought of the great literary and philosophical predecessors of the West, this book offers a modern synthesis of Plato, Plotinus, Leibniz, Spinoza, Henry More, and scores of other seminal thinkers. Dixon wrote nothing more of equal importance after The Human Situation, but this alone has created for him a place among the immortals of modern thought. Dixon is an exoteric Confucius for the West, uniting its several currents of meta-
physical thinking and idealistic speculation in one, unified philosophy.
The role of such intellectual achievements in the larger Theosophical Movement is suggested by several statements of the Teachers. Henry More, the Cambridge Platonist to whom Dixon will bear close comparison, was said by H.P.B. to be "resting" in an elevated state of Tribhuvana, spinning out profound metaphysical conceptions while awaiting the pull of karmic attraction for another earth-life. If Colonel Olcott's hints can be trusted, More had something to do with the production of Isis Unveiled. And Mr. Judge, speaking of intellectual studies, referred to the good effects that would come about "through immortal ideas once more set in motion." These thinkers, devoted to "immortal ideas," gave to the world of reflective thinking the best that the Manasic power of their race was capable of. Under the limits set by the cycle, and outside the path of initiation, they worked and served, as great poets have worked and served, as artists and men of genius. They assimilate and supplement the labors of spiritual teachers, affecting the mind of the race in many ways. No better illustration could be found of the "proteges" of the Nirmanakayas, of whom Patanjali said, "In all these bodies one mind is the moving cause." Like the Florentine School of Ficino and Pico, like the German Transcendentalists, Herder, Lessing, and others, and like the American school of Alcott, Emerson and Thoreau, these English philosophers of the twentieth century have helped to prepare the materials of manasic and moral evolution for future cycles of growth in the West.
Always, the test of philosophical teachings is to be sought in the fundamental ideas proposed for consideration. For these English philosophers - lovers of truth - we shall let W. Macneile Dixon speak, taking from The Human Situation passages which approximate the basic conceptions of the Theosophical philosophy, and arranging them to correspond with the Three Propositions of the Secret Doctrine.
We put aside as beyond hope of solution by ours, or any other minds, the nature of "the One," the great Reality or Being, in which they are rooted - a knot which neither atomists nor idealists have been able to untie. In what manner the Absolute can be at the same time the One and the Many we cannot tell, nor could the relationship between unity and plurality in primordial Being be made clear or set forth in human terms.
The Cosmos is "a vast and complex web of life," a concourse or colony of creatures, for each of whom its environment, or forum of activities, is just the rest of the society. It is a hierarchy of innumerable minds, an ascending series of intelligences . . . . And the physical world in its various patterns is the outcome of their combined strivings to that end, the form their interaction takes for us. In their fellowships they find their opportunities, and from their intimacies and rivalries, from their ceaseless intercourse, arise the evolutions and processes which the passage of nature displays. They have . . . .achieved a certain stability, an adjustment and equilibrium, such as, despite its convulsions and disharmonies, appear in the regularity and uniformity, the stability and order of nature that we call her laws. Or how else are we to account for these laws? . . . .If, as we may well believe, the universe is everywhere and in all its parts alive, the first act in the cosmic drama provided - in the manifestations of these monadic souls, which to us appears as the material world - the earliest and most numerous of its many federations, and became the ground upon which the more closely knit organ-
isms, informed by later or succeeding monads, took their stand; the later life waves flowing through and mounting on the earlier. The laws of nature would then be their consolidated behavior, their simple, automatic habits.
It is Plato's doctrine, and none more defensible, that the soul before it entered the realm of Becoming existed in the universe of Being. Released from the region of time and space, it returns to its former abode, "the Sabbath, or rest of souls," into communion with itself. After a season of quiet "alone with the Alone," of assimilation of its earthly experiences and memories, refreshed and invigorated, it is seized again by the desire for further trials of its strength, further knowledge of the universe, the companionship of former friends, by the desire to keep in step and on the march with the moving world. There it seeks out and once more animates a body, the medium of communication with its fellow travellers, and sails forth in that vessel, upon a new venture in the ocean of Becoming.
Accept for a moment the point of view. Suppose, with Leibniz, the world to be a congregation of separate entities, extending from the dust beneath our feet to the stars above us. A surprising fancy, you think, but let us give it rein. Suppose each individual particle within the Universe bent in its own mode and measure upon the expression and expansion of its separate being, all in a degree sentient, some below, some above what we call consciousness, "less sunk in matter," as Leibniz expressed it, than others. Suppose the world's existing patterns the outcome of these striving selves. Suppose further - a crucial step - the division we habitually make between the animate and inanimate a needless dichotomy, and the minutest of existing things, the very constituents of the atoms themselves, charged with vital energy, each living and spiritual in its essential nature.
The conclusion of The Human Situation strikes a deeply Theosophical note, both memorable and inspiring, presenting the perspective of illimitable soul-evolution, from lowest to highest:
What a handful of dust is man to think such thoughts! Or is he, perchance, a prince in misfortune, whose speech at times betrays his birth? I like to think that, if men are machines, they are machines of a celestial pattern, which can rise above themselves, and, to the amazement of the watching gods, acquit themselves as men. I like to think that this singular race of indomitable, philosophising, poetical beings, resolute to carry the banner of Becoming to unimaginable heights, may be as interesting to the gods as they to us, and that they will stoop to admit these creatures of promise into their divine society. - From Theosophy for August
The following books have just been received from the binders, and owing to the advanced prices of material due to the war, prices have had to be raised from the moderate rates.
- ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPELS by H.P. Blavatsky. 60 and 75 cents.
- ANCIENT AND. MODERN PHYSICS by Thomas W. Willson. 60 cents.
- THE EVIDENCE OF IMMORTALITY by Dr. Jerome A. Anderson. 75 cents.
- MODERN THEOSOPHY by Claude Falls Wright. 75 cents.
- THE BHAGAVAD GITA, A Conflation by Albert E.S. Smythe. 75 cents.
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THE THREE TRUTHS
There are three truths which are absolute, and which cannot be lost, but yet may remain silent for lack of speech.
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the clan who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mild of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY
With respect to immortality, nothing shows me [so clearly] how strong and almost instinctive a belief it is, as the consideration of the view now held by most psysicists, namely, that the sun with all the planets will in time grow too cold for life, unless indeed some great body dashes into the sun, and thus gives it fresh life. Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human soul, the destruction of our word will not appear so dreadful. - CHARLES DARWIN, Letters. -From Theosophy, for August.
Let me love the beauty of the earth
As long as I have breath;
And when the dusk is falling
That men call Death,
May I remember
White birches swaying in the wind.
May I remember
The scent of pine woods at evening,
The soft silence that enfolds
All living things
When darkness falls.
May I remember
A bird's song from the woodland,
And of all things most dear
The light of stars above me
For these memories what shall I give
When from the market-place I draw apart?
I will pour my one libation,
Offered humbly on bended knee,
Sealed within a crystal chalice
Broken then and flowing free -
Wine of my heart.
So shall I offer a pure devotion,
Love for all created things -
Trees and birds, sea and sunlight,
Devotion mounting on its own wings
Drawn at last to the Source of Being,
There to await the final Word,
Merging with the Eternal Beauty,
All that I am, all I have loved, O Lord!
- E. J. Reynolds
Books by Wm. Kingsland
The Mystic Quest; The Esoteric Basis of Christianity; Scientific Idealism; The Physics of the Secret Doctrine; Our Infinite Life; Rational Mysticism; An Anthology of Mysticism;
The Real H.P. Blavatsky; Christos: The Religion of the Future; The Art of Life; The Great Pyramid, 2 vols.; The Gnosis.
May be had from JOHN M. WATKINS, 21 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road, London, W. C. 2, England.