Divine Wisdom Brotherhood Occult Science
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Vol. XXIX, No. 11 Toronto, January 15th, 1949 Price 20 Cents
THE ETHICAL STRUCTURE OF THE UNIVERSE
- J. Emory Clapp
Have you never been enthralled by the slowly mounting disc of the sun rising out of the waters of lake or ocean like a great golden cartwheel? Have you not often been filled with happiness when listening to the songs of wild birds in their freedom? Have you not been captivated by the spontaneous smile of an innocent baby lying in its mother's arms or the loving look of one dear to you? Have you not been enchanted by the marvellous display of colours reflected from low-flung clouds bathing in the evening sunset? Of course you have, but most of these things are taken for granted and we do not stop to think that they are but a tiny part of the beauty and joy to be found in this great Universe in which we live and move and have our being, nor that such experiences are only possible because we have beauty and joy in our hearts; for we are not only in the universe - we are an essential and inseparable part of it, heart of its heart and being of its being in the ultimate sense.
Perhaps upon learning the subject of this address, there were some who thought "How can any one really know anything about such a vast and all-encompassing subject" not pausing to consider their intimate relation to that of which they were and are inherent parts - the Boundless All. True, not many of us have progressed far enough in our evolution to realize our latent and innate possibilities; and there are relatively few individuals who have had the great privilege of contacting and studying the "Wisdom of the Gods" or Theosophy the ageless wisdom; and those who have are even more privileged since they can have the happiness which comes from passing on these supernal verities to other searchers for Truth and enlightenment.
The foregoing is not meant to imply that life does not present us with many problems needing solution, many puzzles that must be solved if we are to have peace and satisfaction; yet the very difficulties which must be overcome, and every man, woman and child has these difficulties; these very difficulties, I repeat, enable us to learn the lessons of life, to develop our spiritual strength or muscles, so to speak, thus step by step becoming that which was and is our manifest destiny, finally reaching the goal set before us to pass on to a greater one.
We are now functioning on the material plane and it will be of value to us to consider what each one of us must experience in the physical body, which is plainly an instrument through which we can bring out and develop those latent capacities and powers which make for evolution. Nor should we despise or underrate the body of flesh for it must evolve in coordination with the intellectual and spiritual faculties of man, having in fact been called a temple of divinity. Starting as a microscopical germ, the prenatal life calls upon all the kingdoms of nature to supply materials for growth, and when the gestation period is completed it is interesting to note three events corresponding to the emanation of the material universe: first, the infant emerges into light; second, the Great Breath imparts the breath of life; and third, the new-born babe sounds the word or Logos for "In the beginning was the word."
Now, consciousness begins to manifest or in other words the infant begins to learn how to use its senses. With its mother as teacher, awareness gradually is developed which means that intelligence or understanding starts to function and the surrounding universe slowly begins to unfold within the childs consciousness. Discrimination is gradually imparted by the contrasts of light and darkness, heat and cold, pleasure and pain, and the relation or polarity of all things which comprise the great diversity, is progressively learned as the days, weeks and years pass by until the human being is ready to choose its pathway through life, and the lessons learned by experience are gradually assimilated by the exercise of its innate intelligence.
Only two aspects of consciousness, awareness and intelligence have been thus far considered, but in its broadest sense it includes all things both objective and subjective, as intelligence, its outstanding feature is manifested by
everything cognizable according to the evoluntionary development of that entity or thing. Consciousness means life and motion, both of which are universal, as well as awareness and understanding and other aspects which must be ignored for the time being. In fact great thinkers amongst our leading modern scientists have spoken of mind as being substantial, using the term mind-stuff originated by Sir Arthur Eddington, while Sir James Jeans calls consciousness `fundamental' and others have rated it as `the only reality'. Ethics are recognized to be essential inhuman consciousness as implying `right action' which assures harmony, and in a Universe built of Consciousness such harmony is necessary for existence. It can therefore be considered structural.
Having reached adulthood, let us expand our consciousness and see what we can deduce as to the nature of our universe as a whole. Those more advanced can help us but our own innate intelligence must be monitor of all that comes from outside of ourselves. We have already referred to certain powers, capacities and characteristics which we possess and among these is the faculty of analysis which enables us to divide the foregoing into three categories: physical or material; mental or intellectual; and spiritual or universal and transcendent, the latter including all that are superior to the other two. The physical includes the emotional since all emotions are derived from our physical sense impressions. Hence all of our physical powers can and should be controlled by the mental and spiritual which plainly have the ability to dominate and control the material. Furthermore as the spiritual, by definition, is superior and transcendent, it must ultimately be the supreme dominating force, universal in essence and harmonious in character. It must be all inclusive, taking in both that which is manifest and
that which is unmanifest, uncognizable and unknowable.
In addition to the knowledge which we gain by direct perception, contact and experience, we have the far greater field of knowledge which has been secured by the experience, research and discovery of other men and women, and passed down to succeeding generations by tradition and transcription. Some of this knowledge is quickly accepted because it appeals to our inner sense of that which conforms harmoniously with what is already known, i.e., consistent in logical accord with that which we are convinced is an aspect of truth. At the same time we must remember that knowledge is relative and many ideas accepted as veracious in the light of present knowledge may have to be changed or modified by later research or revelation. Otherwise we will become dogmatic and be left behind in progressive development.
Let us now consider some of the wonders unveiled to us by our great research astronomers, which must be taken on faith or trust by most of us since we have neither the scientific knowledge nor the ability to pursue these researches ourselves. The wonders deal especially with such tremendous magnitudes that average intellects are staggered by their immensity. Many of us have become familiar with some of these vast magnitudes and spacial distances within our solar system, and consider our own day-star, so felicitiously called by the ancients "Father Sun", an enormous example of immensity, for the diameter of the sun's disc is over 108 times the diameter of the earth; yet astronomers estimate that the diameter of Arcturus, the brilliant star in the constellation of Bootes, is 21 million miles, nearly 24 times that of the sun; and there are other great stars or suns which dwarf even Arcturus into relative insignificance. Take Betelgeuze, ten times larger than Arcturus, for instance, or Antares with a diameter estimated at 400,000,000 miles - 450 times that of our sun. Now if the earth and moon were imagined as functioning inside of a space equal to the sun's diameter with the earth in the center; then the orbit of the moon revolving around the earth, would take up less than half of its diameter. But a space equal to that occupied by Antares would afford ample room for several of the planets to revolve about the sun placed in its center, including Mercury, Venus, Terra or the earth, and Mars.
The preceding however are almost infinitesimal when the vast distances separating these and all other cognizable suns, nebulae and universes or galaxies are taken into consideration. Our relatively miscroscopical units such as miles or kilometers are too minute to be used for such vast reaches, so the astronomers found it necessary to devise a new unit for computing stellar distances. The unit which they devised was based upon speed and time and they selected the greatest speed recognized - that of light and other forms of radiation and including electricity - 186,000 miles per second. As light is that which enables astronomers to seek out the knowable facts about the rest of the universe outside of matters pertaining only to our little planet, it is particularly appropriate for such usage; and by taking the number of seconds in a year, a little over three million, and multiplying this by the speed of light, the unit called a light-year was established.
Thus a seemingly unsolvable problem was solved and it is interesting to note that the nearest star or sun outside of our solar system is estimated to be about two light years away; is it not reasonable to assume that equally vast distances separate all the various stars
or solar systems in our `Home Universe' or galaxy, usually spoken of as the `Milky Way'? Here again we have to deal with enormous magnitudes. The Milky Way has been described as being shaped like a vast cartwheel with a concentration of stars in the center or hub. The diameter has been estimated as some 300,000 light-years and its hub as about 10,000 light-years in thickness. Even this vast cosmic organism has been likened to a mere molecule in the illimitable cosmic spaces, and other galaxies have been computed as being billions or hundreds of billions of light-years away.
Does not the continuous existence of these vast organisms for countless aeons of time in apparent harmony, demonstrate as an incontravertible fact that the uniiverse is a unity and that law and order guided by supreme intelligence exist in the universe, or we might say pervade the universe, and thus form or provide the ethical structure which is manifested by harmony? If it were not for such aeonic and universal harmony, our astronomers would be unable to predicate the marvels which their branch of science displays for our inspiration and benefit. But there is much more to say and thus demonstrate the truth of our thesis with no room for reasonable doubt.
Consider another important factor in the structure of the universe - the principle of solidarity which is concomitant with unity. This is manifested in all of the categories of being previously enumerated and is particularly notable if it be regarded as the expression of `Universal Brotherhood'. We will begin by considering it from the material angle. First, it is shown in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. All of these are made up of atoms which enter into the composition of our physical bodies where they have been used
over and over a multitude of times since mankind first lived on this planet; and this continued day after day endlessly, for we are continuously exchanging atoms, thus literally becoming parts of each other physically. A scientist in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., stated a few years ago as quoted in the News Week Magazine, that with each breath one exhales, 200,000,000 electrically charged atoms are expelled into the atmosphere. Frequently, some of these atoms are almost immediately rebreathed by other people in the vicinity, while the rest are distributed by a the winds of heaven all over the world where they enter into the bodies of others. It is thus possible within the lifetime of one correct-living individual, for atoms of countless other human beings to become integral parts fo his body.
Now, let us take the mental plane which deals with ideas. Every time we talk or exchange correspondence with anyone and every time we read a book or newspaper or magazine we take in these ideas that have been entertained by others and they do or have done likewise. As some of these will be read in the future, we are taking from the past and influencing the future. What a vast influence does the mental plane have for good or ill, and how tremendously important are the ethical implications on the structure of the universe. And above all think of the thoughts of superior beings, the gods who guide and govern throughout the vast cosmic spaces.
Finally, the spiritual plane must be considered. Being universal and dominating all others, it is here that unity or solidarity must be paramount. Even the appearance of separateness disappears and diversity no longer gives the illusion of `mine and thine' while discord is unknown. It is on this plane that the
ethical structure of the universe is laid. In a unity there is necessarily an interdependence manifested by conscious or unconscious cooperation, and careful consideration will bring to mind innumerable examples to support the fact. We see many instances of cooperation in the animal kingdom, exemplified by the herd or group instinct and in some of these, wonderful intelligence its displayed, especially in the insect world as illustrated by the researches of Henri Fabre and other observers, and recorded in their books. The ants and the bees with their meticulous system of communal life, the unexcelled efficiency of the hexagonal cells of the bee's honeycomb and innumerable other examples might be cited. The matter of interdependence is so far-flung and universal as to be literally endless. Take for instance in human relations, such a simple matter as an article of food, say a potato; it may be ordered of the grocer by telephone. The telephone was installed by the Telephone Company through one of its employees. It was developed to its present state of usefulness by scores of individuals directly or indirectly connected with the Company and each of these in turn was indebted to other scores of individuals and so on ad infinitum until the whole world is brought into the picture, yet we haven't even enumerated the grocer and all who made his business possible. Here we have a chain of cause and effect in a procession that spreads throughout the earth and extends to the sun that gives us light and heat and to the planets with their intangible influence involving all of the solar system, and finally the whole vast universe. Each one of us in turn contributes his modicum of cooperation in this all-embracing partnership without which existence would be impossible.
(To Be Continued)
SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
From time to time objections are levelled against those passages in the Secret Doctrine in which Science is allegedly, severely criticized. The objectors draw attention to the undeniable fact that science has been the great instrument in man's growing mastery of his environment, and also to the fact that scientists are for the most part, extremely conscientious men and women, possessed of tremendous patience and skill, with acute, well-disciplined minds and are capable of great sacrifices in following their road to Truth.
It must, however, be apparent to all fair-minded readers, that H.P.B. was not attacking Science but "our latter-day Materialism very often miscalled science." She was also opposing with their own weapons of controversy, those complacent exponents of that materialism whose ignorance and wilful blindness was leading mankind into nihilism. But of the genuine scientist she wrote:
"Nothing can be further from the intention of any true Occultist . . . . than to look unsympathetically on the efforts that are being made in the area of physical enquiry. The exertions and labors undertaken to solve as many as possible of the problems of Nature have always been holy in his sight. The spirit in which Sir Isaac Newton remarked that at the end of all his astronomical work he felt a mere child picking up shells beside the Ocean of Knowledge, is one of reverence for the boundlessness of Nature which Occult Philosophy itself cannot surpass. And it may freely be recognized that the attitude of mind which this famous simile describes is one which fairly represents that of the great majority of genuine Scientists in regard to all the phenomena of the physical plane of Nature. In dealing with this they are often cautious and
moderation itself. They observe facts with a patience than cannot be surpassed. They are slow to cast these into theories, with a prudence that cannot be too highly recommended. And subject to the limitations under which they observe Nature, they are beautifully accurate in the record of their observations.
"Even in reference to the broadest generalization - which pass into a dogmatic form only in brief popular text books of scientific knowledge - the tone of "Science" itself, if that abstraction may be held to be embodied in the persons of its most distinguished representatives, is one of reserve and often of modesty."
Of the many differences between the materialism of 1887 and the teachings of they Secret Doctrine, the most pronounced was the disagreement on the nature of matter. To the materialist, matter was composed of super-hard, super-elastic, indivisible, tiny balls of `stuff' called atoms - and the chance conglomeration of various atoms determined the physical phenomenon, even the mind of man himself. The world was divided into two separate parts, first, living creatures which slowly evolved from simple to complex forms; and second, inorganic or inert matter which was eternally the same.
On the other hand, the Secret Doctrine taught that, "It is on the doctrine of the illustive nature of Matter and the infinite divisibility of the Atom, that the whole Science of Occultism is built." "Matter is Eternal. It is the Upadhi, or Physical Basis, for the one Infinite Universal Mind to build thereon its ideations. Therefore, the Esotericists maintain that there is no inorganic or `dead' matter in Nature, the distinction between the two made by Science being as unfounded as it is arbitrary and devoid of reason."
H.P.B. saw that the Materialism of 1887 was to disappear and be misplaced by a new Science. She wrote, "We are at the very close of the first cycle of 5000 years of the present Aryan Kali-Yuga; and between this time and 1897 there will be a large rent made in the veil of Nature and materialistic Science will receive a death-blow."
Seldom has a prophecy been justified so quickly and so completely. Becquerel's discovery of radioactivity in 1895 lead rapidly to a complete discarding of the most cherished props of Materialism and from then on, Science has gone forward to unveil many formerly unsuspected qualities of matter. A new Science was born. "Dead" matter was shown to be vibrant with life, capable of evolution, change and transmutation. Einstein's special theory of relativity (1905) was another epoch-making discovery, and the philosophical consequences of such changed concepts are still proceeding. The old Materialism which H.P.B. had fought so earnestly wad finally dead - and buried.
THE THREE TRUTHS
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
The sudden demise of Mr. William H. Gough who passed away the day before Christmas is deeply regretted and is made all the more poignant in happening at such a time. The family is well known in the Toronto Lodge and although Mrs. Nancy Gough is the only member of the Society each of them has contributed to the work of the Cause. Mrs. Gough is an indefatigable worker and aided by her late lamented husband has been instrumental in despatching our magazine month by month with unfailing regularity. For this alone we owe both of them a deep debt of gratitude. Mr. Gough was an extremely gifted musician and played in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra besides being in demand for other organizations. By nature very quiet and unassuming, he endeared himself to all who knew him. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family in their sad bereavement.
I am very grateful to those members who have written me giving suggestions in regard to my "Notes" in the October issue on the financial condition of our Section. It is encouraging to know that some feel keenly the paucity of funds in the coffer and are anxious to find ways and means of augmenting them. I can assure these helpful persons that their suggestions will be brought forward at the next meeting of the General Executive.
Whilst on the subject of funds may I once again bring to the notice of those members who are still in arrears that the time has surely come for them to remit the small amount which should have been sent in last July. To bring this matter forward in this public manner is not only infra dig, but humiliating as it shows only too plainly that some of our members are very lukewarm in their attitude toward their society.
In the "Art Number" of Quest, a theosophical monthly published in India sent me recently there is a quotation by Rukmini Devi, "Art is the Divine coming down and becoming one with the body, emotion and mind" which appeals to me very strongly. This well edited magazine contains articles written by well-known writers and is worthy of perusal by all theosophists not only for its occult and theosophical literature but for its leaning toward the beautiful in all manifestations of life. Apropos of this I would state that your General Secretary besides the duties of his office has many other interests as is evinced by the fact that he has received three presentations during the year from various organizations each connected with some branch of art. There is no personal vanity in stating this, it is but to point out and emphasize that one can in spite of daily routine and other obstacles still find time to give expression to that inner urge to create beauty thus helping to do our part in carrying out that side of the Divine scheme which runs through creation as a whole.
We send New Year Greetings to every member and every subscriber to the Canadian Theosophist as well as to all those who are interested in our Teachings. The number and variety of expressions of Brotherliness received from all parts of the world testify that deep in the hearts of men is a sincere desire for mutual cooperation and goodwill and it is our earnest hope that these virtues will coalesce and express themselves as expedient in the first object of our Society and that it will fructiify and bring about a lasting peace not only among ourselves but between all nations.
- E. L. T.
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A recent editorial in the Saturday Review of Literature dealt with an alarming tendency to refuse admission to public library shelves to books of radical or even liberal views. The writer was referring to public libraries in the United States and quoted examples to show that this tendency is widespread. One remark was "Do you really think that the masses can be trusted with all ideas?" One librarian refused to stock certain books because, "You just can't trust some people with some ideas." A county supervisor of Libraries in California said in criticism of a state librarian of over twenty years' experience in state libraries, "I am not satisfied that Mr. Henderson is free of those liberal thoughts that we don't like to see in the mind of the head of a library." We are reminded of Whitman's phrase, `the never ending audacity of elected persons'. This tendency is at present apparently directed towards the suppression of liberal, political literature; later it may extend to all religious, humanist and philosophical literature which does not conform to the established norm of the period - and the old heresy-hunt will again be in full cry.
In direct contrast to the suppressive tendency noted in the above paragraph, we find in the Charter of Human Rights recently adopted by the United Nations' General Council, Article 19 which reads, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontier." This Charter is a document which would have died a'borning if it had been conceived in 1875, when the Theosophical Movement was established. It sets out the principle of Brotherhood and the rights and freedoms which shall be enjoyed by every man and woman in the world, "without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."
Mr. J. Emory Clapp's article "The Ethical Structure of the Universe" was read as an address to the Toronto Lodge on the Sunday following the Fraternization Convention last August. Mr. Clapp is the moving spirit in the Fraternization effort to establish active cooperation among all members of the various Theosophical Societies.
Two recent productions of the C.B.C. which attracted much interest were The Book of Job and W.H. Auden's Christmas Oratorio, For The Time Being. Both were done excellently well and the necessary condensation of both works to fit into an hour of reading time each, added to the dramatic quality and brought the essentials together. The esoteric content of the works was not commented upon but doubtless students of Theosophy who heard the broadcasts caught the inner significance of many passages. The omission of the key verse in the speech of Elihu was unfortunate: "But there is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." The `timeless Christmas' was expressed in the Oratorio in these words, "To those who have seen the Child, however dimly, however incredulously, the Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all."
We have just received word from Mr. C. Benton, Editor of The American Philosopher, of the reprinting of Thomas E. Willson's book, Ancient and Modern Physics. The new edition should be available by the middle of this month. This book was originally reprinted in the Canadian Theosophist at the suggestion of the late Roy Mitchell and was published in book form by The Blavatsky Institute of Toronto from type picked up from the magazine. Mr. Benton is an enthusiastic admirer of the book and has brought it to the attention of many readers in the United States. When he was in Toronto last Fall lecturing for the Toronto Lodge, he learned that all unbound sheets of the book had been destroyed in the flooding of a basement and immediately began to make plans for its reprinting. Mr. Benton's efforts have been successful and students will be indebted to him for making available again Mr. Willson's valuable contribution to the study of occult science. The price will be $1.00 and copies may be ordered from The American Philosopher, Box 406, Rutland, Vermont, U.S.A.; our Canadian readers may order through The Blavatsky Institute, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
"Open House" at 'Toronto Lodge on New Year's Day has become traditional and this year, as usual, many members and friends dropped in during the afternoon to wish one another "Happy New Year". Miss Madeline Hindsley, President, greeted the visitors and Mrs. R. Illingsworth was convenor of the event. The rooms were decorated with green garlands and the small tables were centred with gay red candles. Presiding at the long tea-table were Mrs. E.J. Norman and Mrs. R. Bax; Mrs. J.H. Parker, Mrs. Win. Daly, Mrs. G.I. Kinman, Miss Frances Moon and Miss Irene McArthur assisted in looking after the guests. Two vases of beautiful and unusual white flowers were much admired and it was learned they had been sent from South Africa eight weeks before by Mrs. M. Jardine, a former member of Toronto Lodge, now living in Capetown. Christmas and New Year's Greetings had been received from many distant points including Amsterdam, Holland; Surrey, England; Tirol, Austria; and in addition from friends in Canada and the United States.
- Mrs. G. I. Kinman, Chairman, Publicity Committee.
To the Editor, Canadian Theosophist: -
Permit me space to disagree with some statements in Mr. Jinarajadasa's letter in your issue for November.
He says that H.P.B. "created out of the Akasha unusual spirits, who were Tartars".
Although I am neither an Adept, nor even a Chela, I am convinced that no human being can "create spirits" in the usual meaning of those two words. What super-human beings can do is beyond our cognizance, but the whole teaching of the Secret Doctrine leads one to view spirits as emanations from a Power far above human associations.
As I recall the story of H.P.B.'s materializations of deceased Tartars, these persons had been servants in her family during her young days, whom she had known personally, and could therefore bring back their appearances, dress and physical characteristics with the accuracy that enabled them to be recognized by others who had known them.
When Mr. Jinarajadasa refers to the "Christian" attitude toward the beloved dead, I submit that he should have used the adjective PROTESTANT Christian, for the Roman Church certainly teaches the opposite, with its prayers and masses for the dead, and I do not believe it is entirely a matter of revenues with them. As to the Greek Church, I do not know, but I do know that prayers for the dead are offered in certain very High Church bodies, which are closely adopting some of the Roman usages.
As to "Proof of Immortality" while it is true that Spiritualism cannot give this, neither can any other organization, not even our T.S. The human life cycle is too short and even the Masters - so far as we are told - do not live long enough to do so. Continuation of consciousness after death, has been proven by Spiritualism and other agencies but Immortality is a result of inductive philosophy alone. Even the evidences of Reincarnation, do not, can not, include the (implied) meaning of Immortality. - N.W.J. Haydon.
The Minor Traditions of British Mythology (16s.), The Fairy Tradition in Britain (21s.) Both published by Ryder and Company, London.
These two volumes of Lewis Spence make fascinating reading. Mr. Spence, since his early years has been interested in fairy-lore, and evidently has kept a record of every available hint of Elfland traditions.
In the first book he says that the demonology of Britain, in richness and variety, is certainly the equal of any in Europe. While it may not present as many fantastic shapes as that of Germany, yet there is a broader range of types owing to the admixture of races which occurred within our boundaries. The West of England and the more Northern Shrines abound with stories of the little people, though the South seems to have banished its demon shapes. He realizes that many of our folk-tales are broken lights of a very ancient epic or saga.
Particularly is this true of the Irish legends which recount the overthrow of an earlier pantheon, of older aboriginal divinities, by the gods of the invading Celts. This pre-Christian evidence of succeeding cultures and teachings in very primitive times sounds much like the Secret Doctrine's contention that we were taught, and very well taught, in the earliest days of the human race, as far back as Lemuria at least.
But it is the Fairy Tradition that Mr. Spence has most to say concerning earlier concepts of faith, ritual and doctrine. At the beginning he pays tribute
to the loveliness of the English versions of fairy-life. He says, "In few lands has the fairy tradition assumed so gracious and delectable a form and appearance as in England. A profound and mystical fantasy surrounds the chronicles of the fairy race in Ireland; while in Scotland its memory is associated with a spirit of the weird, which in its intensity at times approaches the tragic and terrible. France has given to the world a legendary of Faerie so distinguished in its keen and raptuous beauty that it may well be regarded as among the most transcendant achievements of the Gallic race."
Mr. Spence takes us through the traditions of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, with their variants of custom and nomenclature, and his chapters are full of information on changelings, spells, landscapes, and holy places of the Shee. He draws attention to the fact that reincarnation is an accepted idea, first only in the persons of their heroes and gods, but later of ordinary folk too, even in the very early pre-Christian ages.
Altogether these books remind one that once the race was young and happy; that mankind can even now re-visit the places haunted by fairies and perhaps have glimpses which will make them less forlorn. But that, as all good and true fairly tales will tell you, depends upon some affinity within yourself that adores beauty and happiness.
The frontispiece of Glamis Castle and twelve plates are most interesting and informative.
- M. H.
BOOKS ON THEOSOPHICAL SUBJECTS which have passed the tests of time and use Supplied on request. Forty years' experience at your service. Let me know your wishes.
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THE CHIEF OBJECTIVES OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY AS OUTLINED IN THE MAHATMA LETTERS
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. (p.24).
Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this nightmare, to teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying upon himself instead of relying on a theological crutch, that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery. (p. 53).
The sun of Theosophy must shine for all, not for a part. There is more to this movement than you have an inkling of, and the work of the T.S. is linked in with a similar work that is secretly going on in all parts of the world . . . You ought by this time to have learned our ways. We advise and never order. (p. 271).
It is just because they preach too much "the Brothers" and too little if at all Brotherhood that they fail . . . I say again then: It is he alone who has the love of humanity at heart, who is capable of grasping the idea of a regenerating practical Brotherhood, who is entitled to the possession of our secrets. He alone, such a man - will never misuse his powers, as there will be no fear that he will turn them to selfish ends. A man who places not the good of humanity above his own good, is not worthy of becoming our chela - he is not worthy of becoming higher in knowledge than his neighbor. (p. 253).
The term "Universal Brotherhood" is no idle phrase. Humanity in the mass has a paramount claim upon us . . . If it be a dream, it is a noble one and it is the aspiration of the true adept. (p. 17) .
Yet you have ever discussed but to put down the idea of universal brotherhood, questioning its usefulness, and advised to remodel the T.S. on the principle of a college for the special study of occultism. This, my respected and esteemed friend and Brother - will never do. (p. 8).
. . . they have to prove constructive of new institutions of a genuine, practical Brotherhood of Humanity where all become co-workers of nature, will work for the good of mankind. (p. 23) .
My dear sir, we neither want man to rush on blindfold, nor are prepared to abandon tried friends . . . we want true and unselfish hearts; fearless and confiding souls. (p. 214) .
Beware then of an uncharitable spirit, for it will rise up like a hungry wolf in your path, and devour the better qualities of your nature which have been springing into life. Broaden instead of narrowing your sympathy; try to identify yourself with your fellows, rather than contract your circle of affinity. (p. 367) .
Friend, beware of pride and egoism, two of the worst snares of him who aspires to climb the high paths of Knowledge and Spirituality. (p. 369).
In our Brotherhood, all personalities sink into one idea - abstract right and absolute practical justice for all . . . - we repeat with Confucius - "return good for good; for evil justice." (p. 401).
If our philosophy is wrong a wonder will not set it right. Put that conviction into your consciousness and let us talk like sensible men. (p. 23).
We seek to bring men to sacrifice their personality - a passing flash - for the welfare of the whole humanity, hence for their own immortal Egos, a part of the latter, as humanity is a fraction of the integral whole, that it will one day become. (p. 231.)
I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell;
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
You have been mine before, -
How long ago I may not know;
But just when at that swallow's soar
Your neck turned so,
Some veil did fall, - I knew it all of yore.
Then, now, perchance again,
O round my eyes your tresses shake,
Shall we not lie as we have lain
Thus for Love's sake,
And sleep, and wake, yet never break the chain?
- D. G. Rossetti
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- ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPELS by H. P. Blavatsky.
- THE EVIDENCE OF IMMORTALITY by Dr. Jerome A. Anderson.
- MODERN THEOSOPHY by Claude Falls Wright.
- THE BHAGAVAD GITA, A Conflation by Albert E.S. Smythe.
Owing to the higher costs of binding it has been necessary to increase the price of the above books to One Dollar ($1.00) each.
Copies of Professor Roy Mitchell's COURSE IN PUBLIC SPEAKING are still available at $3.00 per set. This course was especially written for Theosophical students.
THE BLAVATSKY INSTITUTE, 52 ISABELLA ST., TORONTO 5, ONTARIO
THE EXILE OF THE SOUL
By Roy Mitchell
(Continued from page 160)
IX. THE HUMANIST PROBLEM
The magnificent old word "humanist" is one which has known many vicissitudes and if the rising fashion is any index, it is likely soon to know a few more.
In its broadest and most general sense humanism denotes a greater preoccupation with the welfare of man than with the glory of God. It implies a realization that whatever God's glory may be will be most efficiently enhanced by the service of God's creatures. Humanism is therefore an emphasis and an approach rather than a theory, and is polar to theology and sacerdotalism, which tend to emphasize man's duty to an extra-human and highly hypothetical Deity and to ascribe human joys and sorrows to the operation of His inscrutable will.
Of course humanism is as old as the human love which motivates it, but, in periods of priestly ascendancy it is forced to flow underground. In Europe it has several times welled up into a visible stream, once with Plato, once with the Neoplatonists, once with the Arabian philosophers who came into Europe with the Saracen invasion, and once with the rebirth of Platonism at the Renaissance of the fifteenth century. It is with this last that the word is specially identified, but like so many other words it has been parcelled out among the seers of the parts of things and has been used in limited senses. It is widely used to refer to the cultivation of classical (profane or non-Christian) literature; sometimes to mean any kind of secular learning. More recently Comte and his followers arrogated it as a name for the Positive philosophy. R.B. Haldane and others have used it to describe modern scientific advance. Professors Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More and Norman Foerster have revived it as a name of their kind of addiction to "polite letters" and abstention from anything that seems too modern, and have used it to describe a cold, intellectual gentility which they pretend derives from Plato. In the past year or so it has become a cult name and seems to be in for a vogue that will defile it, just as the word "Theosophy" has been defiled. It will then have to go back to the limbo of soiled words to be reissued when men have forgotten the follies associated with it. To date, however, it is a clean, noble word.
Each of the great humanistic movements in Europe in history has had a direct theosophical origin. It has been the projection into philosophy, religion, the arts, philanthropy and government of an idea which is fundamental in all theosophies - the idea of the essential unity of mankind and the consequent necessity for brotherhood as a means of awakening the intuitions of interior divinity which are the central object of effort in every theosophical system. This is the idea bound up in the word "Theosophy' itself. It is not, as so frequently interpreted, merely Divine Wisdom. Any religious system purports to be that, and saying that theosophy is especially so is no more than vociferation. It is "the wisdom of the god", that wisdom which man may make manifest by virtue of the fact that he has in the past attained to a far higher measure of divinity than he now displays. Or in another symbol, it is the Sophia, lost since our entry into this sublunary sphere.
It is easily demonstrable that no theology (Christian or other) can generate a vigorous humanism. Although Jesus, for example, is a humanist of the first order, engaged in his lifetime in the task of humanizing Jewish dogma, the theological accretions that have gathered about his doctrine have inevitably destroyed the spirit of his work. The dogma concerning Jesus is that a Father in Heaven, of whom he is the extraordinary son and we the step-children, has sent us all into the world and has known in advance the outcome of His action and ours. Nevertheless this God requires of us that we make a series of choices that His own foreknowledge renders impossible. Theology argues also that we can repair wrong choices by an implicit belief in the disparity between us and Jesus. It says that the outcome of this brief and futile period of choice - in which there is obviously no choice - is a return to the Father, Who will in Justice and Mercy, (not manifested up to date) straighten out the whole intolerable tangle. With so muddled a theory of life and so optimistic a theory of death it is not marvellous that the central hope of theology will be a return to the Father. The more contradictory and confusing this God becomes the more surely will He become theology's central fact.
The injunction of the theologian's God to be compassionate and to love one's neighbor as oneself is the addition of insult to injury. Man is expected to do something God evidently overlooked - in effect to transcend his God. In any case it is the history of theology that the people who have taken its dogmas most seriously have been more concerned with propitiating the Deity than with loving the neighbor. The most logical adherents of the Christian dogma have felt with Torquemada that the best service one can render his erring neighbor is to despatch him to his God before he can do any more damage to his soul's chance of happy return. The fear of God has always been the destruction of the love of humanity.
Science does better. Compelled by the strict terms of its enquiry to confine itself to tangibles, visibles and audibles, it has to leave God - even an interior one in man - out of its research. It has therefore no lofty ideal left but the service of humanity. This service is, however, a trifle vague because, so far as the scientist can see - as scientist - humanity has its origin in birth and its end in death. Before the one and after the other there exists only the vaguest sort of abstraction. So unless the scientist has unscientific interior intimations to bear him up, he must pour all his energy and learning into a flux of forms that have visibility but no meaning. Man is only demonstrably man while he is in the body; therefore, he must argue, body makes man. The beneficiaries of the scientists' devotion have done nothing to deserve it, neither is there any certainty that they can requite it, or even benefit greatly by it. In only a few cases can they transmit it. This is a cold kind of humanism, and I doubt if any scientist with no wider vision than it implies would ever go on with it. So while he is performing a humanistic service, the theory of his effort is to be found elsewhere. He can, just as easily as anyone else, be a man who does the right thing for that wrong reason.
There is a third theory of life, increasingly widespread among us today, immeasurably wider in its sweep than the notions of theology and science, which might conceivably give a motive for humanistic endeavor but which rarely does so. It is that system of thought vaguely described as Hindu philosophy and promulgated in India and the West by exponents of exponents of the Advaita Vedanta. Rarely has it been offered in any completeness. What we
have is a syncretism drawn from the six Darshanas or philosophical systems of India, better or worse put together.
It starts, as all great philosophies must, with an incognizable First Cause, out of which arises the polarity we recognize as spirit and matter. The Absolute Cause manifests and in the resultant ocean of being myriad centres of consciousness arise, each seeing the other apart from itself and each under the illusion of I and not-I. These lives begin a long pilgrimage from ignorance through successive stages of self-realization to an ultimate full knowledge of their divinity.
So far there is no division of opinion. This idea of the manifested universe and the flow of souls is common to all Eastern system and to many Western ones. The modern Vedantin, however, assuming a simple and unbroken rhythm as capable of explaining all phenomena, and as reconciling all contradictions, proceeds to deal with man as having mounted the cosmic stair to the position we now occupy. The Vendantin would say that our present mental consciousness represents our full stature, and that continuing on the wheel of evolution of soul powers and returning life after life to earth, we shall pass presently into a super-human condition and from that on to a higher, so step by step to the innermost. Many of our own order, he would say, have gone on, becoming Mahatmas, Rishis, Arhats, and we must all become so in due course.
This is a great concept, greater by far than any generally accepted theory we have had in the West. It is greater than our theology and greater than our science, but as a complete hypothesis it has always been rejected because it does not fit the facts.
The theosophical schools, of which the philosophies are dessicated fragments, refuse it. They say, "No. Unfortunately it is not so simple as all that." There is undoubtedly such an emergence from the Absolute, undoubtedly such a cycle of outpouring and return. Undoubtedly also the evolution or unfolding of the powers of souls is the great law of the Universe. Unfolding consciousness, however, requires also an increasing unfolding of will and the freedom to choose. Whatever permits an individual or an order of individuals to choose permits a wrong choice as well as a right one. If a right choice can result in achievement, a wrong one can result in failure. H.P. Blavatsky speaks of the "necessity of failures even in the ethereal races of Dhyan Chohans".
The theosophist of any school would say, therefore, that man in his present state is not proceeding serenely in his ascent. Somewhere in the past he has made a choice which is now impeding his progres. And even if the theosophist had no more to say about the nature of the choice and the resulting impediments, there are enough indications around us everywhere to show that serious impediments do exist. The theosophist does, however, say more. He says that man - the Ego - is not at the full altitude to which his evolution entitles him, but is considerably below that altitude, and is the partly-conscious possessor of powers more or less in atrophy. There is an order of beings evolving on this earth, a lunar race, but it is far below the stature of man. Man himself is making a bad job of a redemptive act to which the law of the interrelation of orders of beings has committed him and he is for the most part doing his best to go counter to a law of sacrifice which requires that he raise to the level of mind a creature who without his assistance cannot advance. Because of this failure to lift the animal soul, thereby establishing a rate of progression, that will permit him to rise himself, he is in no present process of evolution at all but in one of stagnation. Indeed, in
the cases where man is most obstinate in refusing his obligation, and uses the animal organism for selfish and reparative magic, he is in a state of active degeneration, with lower levels before him. His remedy against further descent is his memory of the lost wisdom.
Because evolution tends ever to unity, whatever memory we recover will be in terms of a level of unity higher than our present one, a community in which the severances of man from man have formerly disappeared and can be made to disappear again by the exercise of brotherly love.
This is the theosophy of Veda, of Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, of the Orphic Mysteries, of Hermes and Plato, of the alchemists, the Rosicrucians, the Sufis, the Kabbalists and of the occultists of the Renaissance in Europe. It is also the theosophy of H.P. Blavatsky and her teachers, so difficult for those who have become indoctrinated with the spurious Hinduism of recent years.
It is also the only "theosophia" which by any conceivable set of conditions can be "remembered" out of our past, as Plato says it must be, or attained by virtue of an earned divinity which all men possess.
(To Be Continued.)
"The man who becomes a beast has a million times the grasp of life over the natural beast, and that which in the pure animal is sufficiently innocent enjoyment, uninterrupted by an arbitrary moral standard, becomes in him vice because it is gratified on principle. Moreover, he turns all the divine powers of his being into this channel, and degrades his soul by making it the slave of his senses. The god, deformed and disguised, waits upon the animal and feeds it. - Through the Gates of Gold.
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