Divine Wisdom Brotherhood Occult Science
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Vol. XXIX, No, 6 Toronto, August 15th, 1948 Price 20 Cents
LAW AND LIFE
"We recognize but one law in the Universe, the law of harmony, of per-fect equilibrium." (Mahatma Letters, xxii.)
Let us begin this study with a mental picture of the vast hosts of beings who surround us - the minerals basking, the plants pushing, the animals adapting, the men creating. It is a tremendous surge of life or motion, of something which does not leave things as they are.
What is this motion? I can best bring it into mental view with the aid of a statement said to have been made by one of the old Greeks: "Nothing can ever move; since (a) it cannot move in the place where it is, and (b) it cannot move in the place where it isn't." When this is quoted the tyro in philosophy at once jumps up and says, "Quite so; but it can move from the place where it is to the place where it isn't." "Splendid", I then add, "for we have established, have we not, the fact that from and to are fundamental realities of Nature or the world?"
Our next thought in this study is that although there is this vast surge of froms and tos round about us, the universe remains one universe. The units of life (permanent life-atoms, or unbreakable bits of life) do not move away from each other, to operate separate worlds. Their baskings, pushings, adaptings and creatings are all taking place in a togetherness of manifestation which is the outward expression of their inward inescapable unity in the one life.
On this crowded dance floor there is a constant jostling. Every one of these units of life interferes with its neighbors. We intrude on our neighbour's works. We prey and are preyed upon. This is the meaning of the sentence at the beginning of the Brihadaryanaka Upanishad, "Om, the dawn is the head of the sacrificial horse," and of the statements that life is hunger and hunger spells death. It is the meaning also of the teaching in the Gita that the man who does not follow the cycle of sacrifice lives in vain.
The tree builds up its form of trunk and branches; we cut it down and use it for building houses. Then the jungle growth attacks our houses, so that we must constantly protect and repair them - and still, in the end, the house will be destroyed. Every moment we men prey upon mineral, vegetable and animal forms, and upon one another. All "plot mutual slaughter, hungering to live."
Yet none can be overcome.
Because there is one LAW, which makes all this activity a perfect ex-
change of service and benefit, which evens up all accounts - the one law in the Universe, the law of perfect equilibrium - Karma.
This law none escapes, whether mineral, vegetable, animal, human, or beyond.
Someone may here ask: "But have we not in the world many natural laws, such as gravitation, cohesion, magnetism, etc.?" The answer is, "No, most emphatically, no," for these are not laws, but forces. The motion of a life is force, which, as stated before, leads on to the production of properties and then forms. The play of forces in a river may at a certain point produce a whirlpool which as long as it lasts is a form. All forms are somewhat of this nature, and are embodiments of life-impulses. The life-impulses of the mineral kingdom are so slow and therefore apparently stable that they look to us like inviolable relationships and sequences, and we then think they are laws. But every one of them is in flux in itself and is breakable from without - gravitation and all of them. The expressed forces of the vegetable kingdom, such as heredity are less stable, those of the animal kingdom, still less so, and, when we come to man we say his actions are unpredictable. He is indeed lawless, but so are all the others, all unpredictable - for that is life.
A Theosophist may ask; "What about reincarnation? Is not that a companion law to the Karmic Law?" No, because reincarnation is due to nothing more than the desire of the lives to produce and enjoy the forms.
We become Dhyan-chohans, and enter the ranks of the higher forces instead of the lower. Dhyan-chohans are spoken of as agents of Karmic Law, also as slaves of Karmic Law (Secret Doctrine, I, Summing Up). This is no paradox. The meaning is quite simple. The god-man works with Karmic Law instead of against it. He lives for harmony and equilibrium, not against them.
He knows life, and he loves.
"The world of force, is the world of Occultism and the only one whither the highest initiate goes to probe the secrets of things . . . Guided by his Guru the chela first discovers this world, then its laws, then their centrifugal evolutions into the world of matter." (Mahatma Letters, xxii.)
That is the world of life, not a separate world from the world of forms, but the same world seen with the eye that looks at life and knows motion to be the root of form.
"Every external motion, act, gesture, whether voluntary or mechanical . . . . is produced and preceded by internal feeling or emotion, will or volition, and thought or mind. As no outward motion or change, when normal, in man's external body can take place unless provoked by an inward impulse, given through one of the three functions named, so with the external or manifested Universe. The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by an almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform . . . . " (Secret Doctrine I, 274, 1st Edition).
To be aware of the business of these feelings, volitions and thoughts in connection with all the things with which he deals is the outlook of the Occultist, is it not?
Let me show this with respect to any material object, by reference to the teachings of dravya, guna and karma. Dravya is the object, guna its properties or qualities and karma its action or motion.
Common Western thought says that an object has attributes and relationships with other objects, that it has properties and actions. This is wrong. In fact, we are not aware of the object but only of a bundle of properties in that place. You speak of water, and I
know you are referring to a portion of space containing the power to wet, to flow, etc., which are properties arising from modes of motion, and there is no object there except as a derivative of forces acting in a certain way, that is, properties or qualities. The words "properties" and "qualities" in English in this connection are most misleading. The word guna is free of this taint or implication of belonging to an object; gunas have the nature of properties but they are the matrix of the object, which is the product of their bundling. In Occultism we would say there is a motion (arising in will, feeling and thought) which gives rise to a bundle of properties or qualities, which in turn gives rise to an object. The fact is rooted in the motion, not the reverse. Motion is life in manifestation.
Thus it is that everything in the world is guided, controlled and animated from within, by a Being. Beings do not interfere with other Beings, but only with their works or products. It is the guidance, control and animation of forms which is carried on by all these Beings. Up to a point they do it with a sense of separateness, and with enjoyment of that separateness in (a) increase of sensuous pleasure, in the subhuman hierarchies or kingdoms, and (b) personal excitement, expansion and aggrandizement, in the human. The words hierarchy and kingdom are not entirely felicitous, as containing implications of government of one group of lives by another, but the word kingdom as meaning orders or classes is not bad if we remember that "king" is related to "ken", and refers to knowledge, so that a kingdom of nature is a group of beings who are knowing and acting in a certain way.
The outputting of life into forms is not without purpose or mission. Each life is going through a cycle of activities, proceeding through a series of phases. Thus we have, for example, childhood, youth, maturity, elderliness, old age and devachan - a definite series promoted from within. I have called this process of putting forth phase after phase "the coruscation of the archetype", which expresion should indicate a kaleidoscopic process of self-review and self-revelation, emphatically not the production of forms as an aim, as in the case of the blue print of an architect. It is a process of self-education, which is seen in every action of a life, as, for example, in an artist's work of painting a picture. There is always an inner urge or deep motive.
In the phase of this process which succeeds the human we become aware of life. The personal aggrandizement of the human phase is now to be replaced by an interest in life, or rather lives. It is quite an achievement when we discover the life in our friend or neighbor and realize that behind that face and those gestures there is someone like ourselves. And this is not easy to maintain; we are constantly forgetting it, even with our nearest and dearest! But when we do see it, and in consequence act with love (for love simply is knowledge of life) we become agents and slaves of Karmic Law and are on the road to the Dhyan-chohan phase of our lives. Love results in working with the Law of Equilibrium, instead of working against it. Actions done without motive of separateness thus require no subsequent harmonizing or equilibration, that is, no operation of Karmic Law. But it must be real love, without separatist taint, which is rare. It must not be egoisme A deux, in love for other companions on the road of life, or in devotion.
This love is natural, of course - not something pumped up, or something superimposed on life - as natural as thinking or willing. It must come about by growth through encouragement, not by desiring it, for the latter would be only a subtle form of personal aggrand-
izement. It will lead on naturally to a perception of the motion-sources in all forms.
In this connection we may recall Madame Blavatsky's statement in her famous article Occultism vs. The Occult Arts that the only form of occultism in which a real Theosophist can be interested is Atma-Vidya, or knowledge of the self, combined with the life of altruism. The function of the Dhyan-chohanic phase of life is not that of legislator or policeman (for there is only one Law), but in conjunction with him men are reminded of their spiritual nature, origin and destiny, and taught to release themselves from the heresy of separateness.
- Ernest Wood.
(This article may be reproduced in other magazines, with acknowledgment to The Canadian Theosophist.)
CONVENTION IN TORONTO
Labor Day weekend has been set aside for a meeting of the "convention" in Toronto, Ont., Canada. The Toronto Theosophical Society, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, has generously offered its commodious quarters for this purpose, and those who have attended previously will know how agreeable this can be. Saturday and Sunday, September 4th and 5th, are the dates and the time will be devoted to a general discussion of Fraternization and its future together with impromptu addresses concerning the best methods of disseminating Theosophy.
Mr. J. Emory Clapp of 194 West Brookline St., Boston, Mass., U.S.A., is the Chairman and Mr. G.I. Kinman of 46 Rawlinson Ave., Toronto, 12, Ont., Canada, is Treasurer. The auditorium at Toronto Lodge holds approximately 400 people and the two large rooms upstairs are very suitable for group or committee meetings, and social gatherings. No "official hotel" is being arranged for, either for accommodation or for convention quarters. The public Sunday evening lecture at Toronto Lodge will be given by Mr. J. Emory Clapp at 7:30 p.m., the title being "The Ethical Structure of the Universe". The committee will be sending out a bulletin giving particulars of plans for the two-day "get-together" when these have been worked out.
It is several years since a "real convention" has been held and there are varying opinions as to whether these can be "revived" or not. The Labor Day weekend will give an opportunity to all who are interested in fuller cooperation between various theosophical societies and groups to meet for a short time and have a "get-together". It will also demonstrate to the committee whether it is desirable or possible to go ahead with an annual convention, with a regular committee being appointed and a whole year to make plans, or whether the cycle for here and now has been completed and activity should be taken up in other directions.
- G. I. Kinman.
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.
The first meeting of the new General Executive took place on Sunday, July 11th, at 52 Isabella St., Toronto, with the following members in attendance: Miss M. Hindsley, Messrs. Dudley W. Barr, N.W.J. Haydon, George I. Kinman and the General Secretary. The Financial Report (a copy of which is printed in this issue) was favorably remarked upon showing as it does a better bank balance than for some years past; the principal reason for this being the reduced cost of printing the magazine owing to its reduction in size. The General Secretary stated that for various reasons the accounts of the Society had not been audited since his taking over but this had now been rectified and he handed in a report from the Auditor, Mr. Henry Marquis who had examined the books for the period 1944 to date, and found them correct. (Vide Auditor's Report). A vote of thanks was passed to Mr. Marquis for his work in this connection. The Standing of the Lodges shows a decrease in paid-up membership, but as was pointed out several of those in arrears have since paid and as the General Secretary remarked quite a number of members are dilatory in remitting their dues which consequently shows our total membership lower than it should be when it could so easily be the reverse. The Editor reported that the number of new subscribers during the year was thirty-six, an improvement on several years past. He read a letter from the printers intimating that in view of the increase in wages and the price of paper that the cost of printing would have to be raised in the near future. This was not unforeseen and it was recognized that it was in keeping with the times. The question of issuing diplomas to members on joining the Society which had been discontinued since 1939 owing to war conditions was then discussed and it was decided that such should now be given to members who had joined since that date and that it be done as soon as possible. The General Secretary stated that this would entail considerable time and work, but that he would give it his immediate attention. A Fraternization Convention tentatively suggested as being held in Toronto this year as per a letter from Mr. Emory Clapp read at the meeting was then discussed. The general feeling of the meeting was as already expressed at a previous one, that owing to a lack of support from Covina and the American Section a convention of the kind desired had little chance of success. However, Mr. Kinman stated that in accordance with Mr. Clapp's latest letter the matter could be brought before the next Executive of the Toronto Lodge to get its support and the use of its premises for a modified convention without the expenses of a large hotel, etc. This had the approval of the meeting and Mr. Kinman was requested to report the result direct to Mr. Clapp and if favorable, the General Executive would help in every way possible to make the convention a success. At the request of Dr. W.E. Wilks, the General Secretary read a letter from him relative to the publishing of all letters in reply to his one which appeared in the December issue of the magazine and which had aroused much controversy. The discussion that ensued was very lengthy and involved making it impossible to give here a detailed report of its many ramifications but the consensus was that the discussion in the magazine centering around personalities only, could be ceaseless and lead nowhere, and that the opinion of the Canadian Society could be adequately presented in a series of articles as already suggested and begun. Mr. Barr remarked that he had had comments from several members expressing approval of his article. A further letter received by the Editor after the meeting appears in this issue and expresses Dr. Wilks'
views more fully. After arranging for a date for the next meeting viz. the first Sunday in October, the meeting adjourned.
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I would draw special attention to the notice in this issue of the Fraternization Convention to be held in Toronto on September 4 - 6 inclusive, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Emory Clapp of Boston; he has been indefatigable in his efforts to bring this about and we hope that as many supporters of this movement as possible will attend and make this attemp to resuscitate such a laudable enterprise the success it deserves.
The members of Edmonton Lodge suffered a sad bereavement in the death of one of their most active workers, Mrs Mabel Morrison, widow of Judge F.A. Morrison, who passed away quietly on July 6th at the age of seventy-two. Mrs Trupp, Secretary of the Lodge writes, "Her splendid contributions to our programs will be a sincere loss to us, as will her interesting comments. During her period of activity in the Lodge she served as Secretary and Librarian and was one of the seven members who were instrumental in reforming the Edmonton Lodge some years ago . . . She was especially interested in music from the Theosophical angle and had in preparation an article on music, which she intended sending to the Canadian Theosophist as a follow-up article to Mrs. Dalzell's `Sound and Colour'." The funeral service was conducted by Mr David Newson, a close friend of the family, who spoke of her Theosophical philosophy and read passages from The Light of Asia. Our sincere sympathy goes out to the members of the family and also to the Edmonton Lodge in this loss of a staunch worker and friend.
So dear old "Woody" has gone too! A happy smile and a wave of the hand was all she wanted when she went and this she got at the simple obsequies paid to her memory at the Crematorium in Toronto on July 10 when, after a very short ceremony arranged by herself, the body of the person known as Miss Agnes Wood was consigned to the refining fire. A true Theosophist, death to her was but a release to a fuller life untrammeled by the burden of ageing flesh which in later years deterred her from her many theosophical activities. As Librarian in the Toronto Lodge she will long be remembered not only for her invaluable work in that capacity but for her kindly thoughtful advice to seekers of the printed word and the helpful guidance on all matters pertaining to Theosophy and its way of life. We also regret the passing of another old member in the person of Mr. William Daly of the Toronto Lodge who died suddenly on July 5. Always an earnest student although latterly deterred by illness from attending the meetings, he conscientiously studied the teachings and up to the very last was reading his beloved Gita. To relatives of these bereaved we extend our deepest sympathy.
We are happy to know that after many vicissitudes Vancouver Lodge has a now obtained new lodge rooms at 1511 Hastings St. W., and that after a preliminary house-warming the members are settling down to an earnest endeavor to make it a centre of a living organism in their beautiful city.
Pandit Rishi Ram recently visited Toronto and spoke at the lodge there enthralling a large audience with a talk on "Meditation". On his tour out West he will be glad to speak to any of our lodges located in the cities he intends visiting.
We are pleased to print the following letter received from Colonel A.L. Conger, on behalf of the Theosophical Society, Covina: - "Dear Colonel Thomson, The two cartons containing the `Tripitaka' in forty-five volumes have been received in good order. The volumes will be given a prominent place in our Library, and will undoubtably be valuable reference material for our students. The letters from W.J.M. Watson-Armstrong, Consul for Siam, to Mr. Smythe give an added historical value to the gift. The thoughtfulness and kindness in presenting this great work to our library for students' use is greatly appreciated by all. I am sure that this gesture of good will is an indication of the closer cooperation and sympathy which we hope will develop among the several Theosophical Societies. Please accept our thanks to you personally for the care and trouble taken to insure their delivery in good order. Sincerely yours, A. L. Conger."
EARLIER CONTACTS WITH THEOSOPHY
S ince my experience includes fifty years' membership in the T.S., some of my fellow members think that a few memories might be interesting and our editor has kindly allowed space for the experiment.
The first "contact" dates back to 1888, when occult phenomena were being widely publicized; one of the attempts at ridicule was a small book entitled "Every Man his own Mahatma", in which the adventures of a neophyte in projecting his astral body, so as to visit his friends without paying railway fare, were set forth at length. For some reason, this did not seem to me at all ridiculous since, being then a good churchman, I believed in "miracles".
Leaving England the next year, to work in the United States for a farmer who proved to be an agnostic, rather intensified my current theological beliefs and I took part in churchly activities for several years with, however, an increasing fondness for asking pointed questions as to the bases of doctrine, and for proofs rather than opinions from my official superiors, which were usually discouraged.
The next noteworthy experience came in 1895, when, along with an acquaintance, we read by the roadside some placards, nailed to the fences by the local group of Theosophists, on which the first four Rules from "Light on the Path" were printed. The other man said "What d....d nonsense in that" and I still remember the feeling of surprise which came over me, when I expressed quite contrary views to his. I seemed to know all about the implications of the sentences, which I had never read, or heard of, previously!
After a year's rapidly growing friendship with the new associates, during which I had the privilege of a few minutes' conversation with Mr. Judge, I joined the Lowell Lodge in 1896, and have remained in the T.S. ever since.
A hard test, however, came a few months later, when the teaching of Reincarnation seemed to be the very opposite of my belief in the vicarious atonement. This gave me a severe conflict, until I read the Bhagavad Gita, when the words of The Lord Krishna: "I am the warrior fighting in the heart of every man" and the rest of that illuminating chapter, solved the problem and showed me clearly that reincarnation was the appointed way by which a real at-one-ment is reached.
Since then, opportunities to spread more Light, both by speaking and writing, have been many, and my debt of gratitude is still unpaid.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Subscription: Two Dollars a Year
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
N.W.J. Haydon, 564 Pape Ave., Toronto, Ont.
Miss M. Hindsley, 745 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Ont.
George I. Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Avenue, Toronto, Ont.
Peter Sinclair, 4941 Wellington St., Verdun, Quebec
Washington E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C.
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
EDITORIAL BOARD, CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
All Letters to the Editor, Articles and Reports for Publication should be sent to The Editor: Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ont.
Printed by the Griffin & Richmond Printing Co., Ltd., 29 Rebecca Street, Hamilton, Ontario
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 Travelling Librarian, 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ont.
The attention of our readers is drawn to an excellent review and criticism of Priestess of the Occult which appeared in the August 1947 number of Horizon, the Journal of the Philosophical Research Society, edited by Manly Palmer Hall, 3341 Griffith Park Blvd., Los Angeles 27, California. This important article of some 4000 words came but recently to our attention; it is one of the best we have read and it is, we feel, well worthy of a place in Theosophical archives. Actually it is more than a criticism of Mrs. Williams' book; it is an able and illuminating exposition of the esoteric attitude. One interesting bit of biographical material is included, `The house in which she (Madame Blavatsky) lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was pointed out to me several years ago by a local newspaper man who had no interest whatever in things metaphysical.' The author states that the esoteric tradition which lies behind The Secret Doctrine, is supported and sustained by the religious literature of all ages, but has nowhere else than in The Secret Doctrine been gathered into a connected story. "The basic concept may be attacked, ridiculed, denied, and distorted, but it cannot be disproved." The author's sincere and thoughtful tributes to the character and occult standing of Madame Blavatsky will be deeply appreciated by all her students.
The June issue of Lucifer, the official organ of the American Section of the Theosophical Society (Covina) contains reports of some of the addresses given at the Fifth Triennial Convention held at Covina. Mr. Oliver J. Schoonmaker retired as President of the Section and Mr. John P. Van Mater was elected to the post. Mr. Schoonmaker is known to many Canadian members through the Fraternization Conventions of previous years. Our best wishes are sent to Mr. Van Mater for his success in the new I work which he has undertaken. The Convention discussed plans for the coming three years, also work among young people and it was reported that deep interest was aroused.
And in lighter mood - Heaven knows there are too few of them - we pass on a little story told by Mr. Schoonmaker at the Convention. A woman was trying to explain the idea of Reincarnation
(Continued on Page 90.)
[[This table cannot be reproduced in its entirety here - dig. ed.]]
STANDING OF THE LODGES FOR THE YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1948
Kitchener ................. 3
London .................... 0
St. Thomas .............. 2
Toronto .................... 209
Toronto West End .....8
Members at Large .......6
STATEMENT OF FUNDS - YEAR ENDING JUNE 30th, 1948
Balance from last year:
Goneral A/C ......... $267.08
Special Fund .............78.00
Lodge Fees and Dues:-
1948 ............. 863.90
Magazine Subscriptions ..... 346.31
Magazine Donations .......382.60
Sales .................................. 48.60
Donations - General Fund ..... 15.00
Donations - Various .............30.00
Bank Interest ...............10.21
Per Capita, Adyar ............$ 93.50
Postage .......... 44.56
Envelopes ............. 98.11
Postage ............. 32.95
Special Fund ........ 25.00
Election Costs .......... 29.00
Extras .............. 25.33
"Save the Children Fund" .... 18.00
Cash in Bank .....................796.03
As per Pass Book ......... 807.88
O/S Cheque No. 200 ...........11.85
This is to certify that I have audited the accounts of the Canadian Theosophcal Society from the year 1944/5 to June 1948 inclusive, and found them in accordance with the published Annual Statements. All necessary documents and receipts were produced and I found the system of accounting a good one fully suiting the size of the organization.
8th July, 1948, H. Marquis
OFFICE NOTES (Continued from Page 88.)
to her husband. "Rubbish!" he snorted - "Do you mean to say that if I died I might come back as a worm?" "No, not as a worm," she replied gently, "you see, you will never be the same thing twice."
The President of a large publishing house recently said in an interview: "Last year our plant turned out 40 million books, with a record daily production of 156,000 copies." Doubtless this should be very impressive, but I read it with a feeling of dismay. The other night after glancing through a book of modern life, I put it aside and wondered - why didn't they just leave it be a tree.
Theosophy in Ireland for April-June which has just been received carries a short report from the General Secretary on the English Convention and also a note of the visit of Srimati Rukmini Devi to Ireland, `her presence has left . . . . a little centre of radiant loveliness embracing the inner meaning of that creative art which she interprets so beautifully.' We intended to mention previously, and take the opportunity now, an excellent article which appeared in an earlier issue Why Reincarnation Disappeared from Christianity by E.V. Hayes. This subject is of interest to each new generation of Theosophical students and in this article the author has assembled much valuable information.
We acknowledge with many thanks the receipt from an Austrian correspondent of translations of two articles from Theosophische Zeitschrift Adyar, one by Mr. Fritz Schleifer, the General Secretary of the Austrian Section, and the other by Dr. Norbert Lauppert of Graz, Austria. The articles are on the subject of materialism and idealism, particularly, Dialectical Materialism and Theosophy. The articles, which we hope to reprint, present two viewpoints on this very important subject.
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist:
Sir: - It is, in my opinion, extremely regrettable that the General Executive in committee decided that the letters of Mr. C. Weaver, Mrs. Sandra Chase and Mr. Geoffrey Hodson should not be published. Mr. Dudley Barr's article on the subject under controversy entitled "The Comparative Study of 'Theosophy" will hardly satisfy these correspondents as it but states once again the case against which they protest. They have every right to complain that but one of their protests has been given expression as against three, two from myself and this present article of Mr. Barr; and to declare that the statement that "There is no intention to suppress freedom of expression in the Magazine; freedom to criticize, object to and discuss anything which appears here", is an empty boast.
The chief reason given for this refusal, viz. that it deals mainly with the personalities of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater will hardly seem to them valid for it is not upon the evidence they depend apparently to refute the charge that a substitute has been foisted upon the members in the place of Theosophy in the Theosophical Society, but upon the unimpeachable character of these personalities whom it is claimed are responsible for this substitution.
The other objection is a real one, - that these letters would take up five pages of the Magazine. There is a rule I believe that correspondence must be limited to 500 words, about a column and a half, but it is a rule which has been applied with discrimination. If lack of space is an insuperable objection, I suggest that the Editor either publish one of these three letters, the one which expresses most ably, clearly, and vitally, the objections all three voice or that he make a digest of the most forcible arguments in all three.
It is from the clash of conflicting opinions that truth often arises and is
seen. The perusal by readers of a clear reasoned statement presenting both sides of a matter of importance results, very often, in mere assent or dissent and the matter is forgotten; but when the reader is presented with both sides of a contention each forcibly presented by the proponent sincerely holding that opinion, the reader has the opportunity of using his own intelligence to come to a decision and what he decides carries weight with him. We do not "require a passive mind" quotes Mr. Barr, - then let us have both sides of contentious matter presented, so that each of us can draw our conclusions and make our decisions for ourselves.
Pap feeding with predigested ideas has been the bane of the T.S. Compare such books as A.B's "Ancient Wisdom" or C.W.L.'s the "Other Side of Death" with H.P.B.'s "Key to Theosophy". In the last the reader is forced to think not to accept simple ready-made fully formed concepts. All this is, in part, what is meant by the statement in the Mahatma Letters that it is the concentration of minds of different polarities upon some one dominant idea that is necessary for success in the Occult Sciences. The clash of conflicting opinions sincerely held and criticism fearlessly expressed stimulates the mind, and arouses interest and energy. And the discipline demanded for this provides the necessary training ground for the truth seeker inuring himself to desire truth before comfort.
- W. E. Wilks.
July 13, 1948.
"Nature gives up her innermost secrets and imparts true wisdom only to him who seeks truth for its own sake, and who craves for knowledge in order to confer benefits on others, not on his own unimportant personality."-Lucifer, Sept., 1890
Some Theosophists have been accused of denying Christ and pious Christians shake their heads and quote Luke 12-9: "But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God." Naturally, if the Bible is to be taken literally, these people who deny that the man Jesus, ever lived are really in for a bad time of it. However, when Christ is looked at in the light of the Ancient Wisdom, we find that they are not denying Christ after all. In fact they are "confessing" Christ in a more profound and spiritual manner than those who believe a man of that name actually lived in some distant epoch of the past. When symbology is once examined, it is the only reasonable attitude to adopt toward the Christian teaching and the only reasonable way to "follow" Christ.
"It is pretty well established that Christ, the Logos, or the God in Space and the Saviour on Earth, is but one of the echoes of the same antediluvian and sorely misunderstood Wisdom." - S.D. ii-483.
A note by K.H. on S. Moses' letter reminds me of the fact also. It reads: "Jesus who is a spiritual abstraction and no living man of that epoch". - M.L. 415.
ORIGINAL AND UP-TO-DATE THEOSOPHY
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THE EXILE OF THE SOUL
By Roy Mitchell
(Continued from Page 79)
VI. THE THEOLOGICAL PROBLEM
Within recent years theological problems presented in the theologian's manner have ceased to be matters of great importance to thinking people. They are survivals of a gloomy interval in the history of mankind and do not conform to a free habit of thought. Emancipated thinking must be based on verifiable experience that can be correlated and made to yield laws. While the proper correlation may be greatly assisted by the records of previous enquiry and by intuitional processes, it is none the less necessary that the whole inquiry have its roots in physical, emotional and mental phenomena.
Instead of proceeding from fact on any of these three planes, theologians demand that you proceed from imputed fact - dogma. This dogma, which we now know derives from an ancient, symbolical guide to the intuitions, has been so badly mutilated that it will no longer interpret fact. The theologian is in a quandary. Lacking the ability to impose it by force, he must discard it altogether or thump a desk and assert that it is fact.
The primary material of Christian theology - all other theologies embody the same principle but manifest it variously - instead of being made up of data of experience, is a body of tradition or fable, handed down from generation to generation, and, as I have suggested, badly distorted in its many transfers. In its starkest form the tradition is as follows.
That the universe and all its creatures are the product of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, but none the less personal God, who is moved by anger, jealousy, unwillingness to forgive and by preferences for one of His creatures over another. That the first human beings He created in His own image proved a disappointment and plunged themselves and all their physical descendants into a state of alienation from the omniscient God who must have known perfectly well what they intended to do, but was none the less angry with them for what He permitted them to do. So unrelenting was He, or so incompetent at finding a way out of His mistake that it was a trifle over four thousand years before He executed a scheme of redemption by which He incarnated on earth as His own Son. Those who would or could thereafter believe such a relief measure was actually the work of the same One Cause, who kept the stars in their courses, ordered the minerals and plants and animals with all their myriad intricacies and ramifications, could at death go to eternal happiness. Those who for some defect could not, were condemned for eternity to an inferior state, if not to a state of actual torment.
Most theologians, for reasons of common sense, would repudiate so bare a statement. They avoid bare statements of their dogma because without theological adornment and a thick mist of words it is too terrible for acceptance. Rarely does any of them dare to state it even in full. They devote their lives to special and less contradictory aspects of it.
None the less, what I have given is a map of the theological theatre of war, and all the great battles of theology have been settled or are still raging within its boundaries.
The profound controversy between theists and deists is between those who think that a personal God, having made the world, remains in touch with all His
creatures to hear their prayers and importunities, and those who think that having made it, the personal God is now beyond reach and is no longer bothering about it. The deists are called rational theologians.
The intricate trinitarian dispute turns on whether God incarnated Himself as His Son, or whether He made for the occasion a Son of superior quality but separate from Himself.
The struggles over original sin are also within the map. They have to do with the mystery of that first offence which God must have anticipated but which so gravely annoyed him when it occurred. They have to do with the precise nature of the offence, the extent of the alienation, and the justice of the inheritance of the penalty by souls who had nothing to do with the offence and do not even know what it was.
The famous, but never finished, war between the Traducians and the Creationists is a dispute about the origin of the individual soul and started as a skirmish in the fight about original sin. The Traducians declared that souls are generated at the same time and in the same manner as bodies, by sexual union. Thus only, the Traducians said, could there be any transmission of the original sin by inheritance. The Creationists insisted that whenever two bodies came together and made a third, God hurriedly created a soul to thrust into it. Although Traducianism is the only theory (within the map) that will validate original sin, it is now rarely held. The Creationist picture of a God of love making an innocent new soul to accommodate the amours of a drunkard and a harlot, who will later instruct it in their arts and send it bowling along to hell, has evidently proven more attractive to the theologians. Perhaps it is another mystery into which you must not peer - or you may laugh.
The unending controversy between exponents of free-will and those of predestination with all the rarefied subtleties that have gone into it, is a war to decide, within the boundaries I have outlined, whether, because God knows everything in advance - as would become an omniscient deity - all events are therefore fixed, or whether one of God's creatures can decide of his own free will to do something God knows in advance he will not do or something God had not foreseen. Predestination destroys the whole point of the redemptive system, because whether an individual will be saved or not is all fixed in advance. Free will, on the other hand, makes God less than omniscient. If the Predestinarian is right, God knows in advance every time he makes a soul for eternal torment, but seemingly He continues to do so because He is bound by a law manifested in the sexual proclivities of His creatures. In which case again He is not only less than omnipotent but is a servant of sex.
The wars over the true apostolic succession are no more than commercial wars about the authorized agency for the redemption brought to earth by Incarnate God. The apostolic successors would argue that in addition to making an inefficient scheme of salvation, God further vitiates its efficiency by permitting a monopoly of it instead of using every agency to further it. They have this in their favor of course, that the God who would work out such a system of salvation would be just the one to limit its use. He is that kind of a God.
The controversy over the actuality of the eternal torment for those who rejected or missed redemption are wars of method. They are between those who believe in scaring men into the arms of a loving Father, and those who would lure men into the arms of an angry one. Or the other way about. It does not make much difference.
These are the great wars. There are numberless little ones. Does the power
of the Incarnated God to absolve from sin continue in his human self-elected successors and exponents? Does an infant who dies without doing wrong suffer eternally for the sin of those first parents to whom he is in no way spiritually related except through the Loving God who made all three? Can a ritual of admission to a Church save such an infant from the penalties for sins he never committeed? Has God made any provision or amnesty for those who missed redemption because God made them before it came into effect? Has He made any provision or amnesty for those who miss it or have missed it for geographical reasons - being born in an unfavorable place? Has He made any provision for those who refused the whole doctrine because they sincerely believed they had a better one, or because the men who tried to persuade them by argument or force were notoriously debauched or dishonest or cruel? If God has made any or all of these provisions is it not a much less advantageous thing for a man to hear of redemption than to live in ignorance where the responsibility is not so great? Was not the whole redemptive scheme, therefore, a further cruelty in that it put on some a responsibility it did not put on others? Who is to be held responsible, the Congo native who dies in ignorance of redemption for lack of a visit from the missionary, or the missionary who went to a garden-party instead of carrying the message to the native? Or does God personally adjust these lesser inadvertences at the last day? Since all cases contain inadvertences, might He not merely adjust each case as it comes up without any redemptive complications at all? Is redemption to be considered the reward of godlike acts, or is it the reward of simple belief in the scheme? If it is the reward of acts, what point would there be in redeeming a dying man already bankrupted by his sins? If this is the reward of faith the sooner a man dies after his redemption the better. This, incidentally, was the position of the Chicago clergyman who, having reconciled a murderer with his God, opposed a commutation of the death penalty, for fear his convert, if permitted to live, would fall again from grace. The clergyman was strictly logical within the theologian's scheme. If other clergymen were as logical, and were devoted enough, they would first save and then shoot their converts.
These are a few of the crucial issues of Christian theology. They fill the dusty tombs of those great and good men whose books we see but so rarely read. Stripped of their latinity and reduced to everyday language these are the subjects theologians debate. They are at great pains, however, not to let the contradictions get into one sentence where they will become too evident. As long as they are carefully compartmented they are impressive. If perchance the contradictions become evident the theologian says, "That is a great mystery, and it does not do to pry into the inscrutable will of God. It unsettles faith," he says. What he means is that such enquiry unsettles theology. People will reject his system as valid theory and his revelation as fact.
You will observe that for the theologian his dogma presents many problems. For the person no longer persuaded that the Creator of the universe can be so incompetent and ridiculous a personage as the theologian makes him, there can be only one problem - a psychological one.
How has such a farrago of nonsense maintained the tenacious hold it has upon the minds of men?
There are several reasons, some lesser, and one, I believe, the great central reason. One reason is to be found in human laziness, the willingness to let men whose trade it is argue these problems. Another reason is human fear - the fear of going in the face of
bigotry. Another and more important reason is that the flower of the teaching of Jesus, regeneration through love, has so commended itself to good men and women that they have accepted for its sake the tangle of degradations the theologians have permitted to grow up around it. Another reason is that, aided by the forces of bigotry and frightened compliance, theologians of a cer-tain type have, wherever they could, destroyed the traces of efforts men have made to purify and cleanse it.
Beyond all these, the great reason for its persistence is that, concealed within its misshapen form, there is just enough of the element of truth to arouse in men the vague memory of a truth they once held but have forgotten and cannot quite recall. Deformed as the fable is, it has still the discernible shape of an age-old wisdom about the origin of man and of his relation to earth. The dogma has the power to stir the ancient memory without reviving it, and men cling to the distorted formula in dread that if they lose it they will have no clue at all. The more they dread the loss of the clue the more frantic and bigoted they become.
There is no absolute untruth in the world. The grossest superstitions are divine visions reflected in the waters of man's desires, and the more disturbed the waters, the more hideous the reflections. The Kabbalist says, "Demon deus inversus est - the evil principle is only the godlike principle upside down."
For the student of occultism every distorted image is a divine image he must restore. Every myth, every fanaticism, every broken fragment of unclean magic, has somewhere at the heart of it a clue to a divine function. Man does not make new ideas of religion; he gets old ideas wrong.
Let us see if we can find what was in the minds of the first progenitors of the fable, who possessed their memory of the ancient truth, and see then how the theologian has reflected it in the waters of his own desire. In order to do so we must now go outside the Christian field because although all theologies are distorted the distortion varies with the religion.
(To Be Continued)
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
By Anie Besant
No member is asked either to believe or to spread Theosophical teachings. Every member is left absolutely free to study exactly as he chooses; he may accept or reject any Theosophical teaching; he remains in his own religion - Hindu, Parsi, Buddhist, Hebrew, Christian, Muhammadan; and his religion, if he holds to it strongly, will color all his ideas. If he accepts Theosophical teachings, a strong believer in any special form of religion will present them in his own form, and is absolutely free to do so. But he must not insist on his own form of them being accepted by others.
The Society has no dogmas, and therefore no heretics. It does not shut any man out because he does not believe the Theosophical teachings. A man may deny every one of them, save that of Human Brotherhood, and claim his place and his right within its ranks. Theosophists realize that just because the intellect can only do its best work in its own atmosphere of freedom, truth can best be seen when no conditions are laid down as to the right of investigation, as to the methods of research. To them Truth is so supreme a thing, that they do not desire to bind any man with conditions as to how, or where, or why he shall seek it. The future of the Society depends on the fact that it should include a vast variety of opinions on all questions on which differences of opinion exist; it is not desirable that there should be within it only one school of thought; and it is the duty of every member to guard this liberty for himself and for others.
"THE MEANING OF MASONRY"
Messrs. Rider & Co. have sent us a copy of their reprint of this enlightening book by the late W.L. Wilmshurst. The binding is inferior to that of the pre-war editions and the price is 25% higher, but it is still one of the best expositions of the sacramental implications of Masonic ceremonial, which has been presented in many years.
It will not appeal to as large a group of readers as that very popular book "The Builders", by Rev. J.F. Newton, which has had more reprints than the 18th century pioneer along this line - "The Spirit of Masonry" by Wm. Hutchinson - but any one who seeks the truly esoteric view of what has made Freemasonry outlive all the contemporaries of its earlier decades, will find an answer in these pages.
Mr. Wilmshurst was one of a small group of intimate friends of Mrs. Atwood, and shared their success in inducing her to allow republication of her remarkable work "A Suggestive Enquiry into the Hermetic Mystery"; his own long researches in this direction, are reflected in the pages of his "Meaning of Masonry".
Other books to his credit are "The Masonic Initiation", and two smaller studies - "The Ceremony of Initiation" and "The Ceremony of Passing"; the third portion of this trilogy was in mss. at the time of his death, but outbreak of the second World War prevented its publication. His other works include a large volume "Contemplations" and a small study of The Bhagavad Gita.
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