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Vol. XXXI, No. 10 Toronto, December 15th, 1950 Price 20 Cents
SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS OF THEOSOPHY
By C. Jinarajadasa
Fourth President of the Theosophical Society
In New York in 1875 sixteen people met to organize the Theosophical Society. This was the first group of Theosophists. Since then there have been organized 3,490 groups in every country in the world, including Iceland, and also Russia before the Bolshevik revolution.
What is the significance of these groups? It is this: Each group has been composed of idealists who are visualizing the unification of the world as one Humanity, because the First Object of the Society states that it is "To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color." Each group has met every week, usually, and not infrequently there were also weekly public lectures on almost every possible topic dealing with the culture of mankind, past and present. All these lectures had the background of the First Object of the Society, of one Humanity, and all were within the general idealism stated in the motto of the Society, "There is no religion higher than Truth".
It is we Theosophists who were the first United Nations. In 1925 when we celebrated our Fiftieth Anniversary, the Golden Jubilee of the Society, we flew in the great Hall of the Theosophical Headquarters at Adyar, Madras, the flags of forty-three National Societies of the International Society, and in addition about five more flags of countries where there were groups of Theosophists, though not enough of them to form a National Society.
I make bold to claim that it was our filling the world of thought with our ideals of the unity of the world that made possible the organization, first of the League of Nations, and later that of the United Nations. For always thought has to precede action, and it is Theosophists throughout the world who gave the thought of a united world.
What has been our aim during the past seventy-five years? To understand
this we must glance at the conditions both of the West and of India in 1875. The dominating philosophy of life for intellectual people was that of a rigid materialism which completely excluded any conception of the soul, for materialism stated that mind was nothing more than the result of chemical changes in the cortex of the brain, and the soul was a pure phantasy. Something of this materialism began to affect the leaders in Indian universities, who thought necessary to turn their backs upon the ancient spiritual culture of India.
Side by side with rigid materialism, there existed, especially in the United States and partially in some countries of Europe, Spiritualism. Spiritualism had begun to give some proof (though not always a sure, unchallengeable proof) that after death the individual's consciousness still persisted. The defect in Spiritualism has always been that again and again mediums have been proved to be frauds who by trickery have staged super-physical phenomena, which had been claimed to be the action of invisible spirits. Spiritualism is now well established, though in modern days not with the striking phenomena which drew the attention of Crookes, Wallace, Lodge and other members of the Royal Society of England. Today spirits, through their mediums, largely give messages from dead entities and preach sermons. There has not yet been un-challengeable proof that the communicating entity is really what he claims to be, for it may be that he is masquerading as some other entity. It has not yet been established whether all these messages may not be from the subconscious mind of the medium.
Spiritualists have been content to remain at the stage of phenomena and proof of identity of the dead, without enquiring what is the philosophy of the universal process in which all the phenomena happen. It was from the first the aim of the Theosophists, who admitted the genuineness, in the main, of phenomena, to consider whether it was not possible for enquiry to go beyond Spiritualism into a larger realm, in order to understand what is the nature of the universal process, and its significance in terms of life.
Since the Society's organization, 300,000 members have joined it, accepting the principle of Universal Brotherhood. In addition, it is the Society which first proclaimed to the West the ideas in Indian philosophy of the One Life, Reincarnation and Karma, and particularly the most fundamental of all Theosophical truths, that the Divine Nature, which many religions call God, exists in man also. This most ancient doctrine exists in many religions and once upon a time was an integral part of Christian belief. Our aim to make a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood has as its basis the fact that all men make one chain, because all men fundamentally have within them the same Divine Nature, even the veriest and most undeveloped savage. All the distinctions of race, color, creed and sex are, to us, purely superficial.
In a famous Hindu prayer, often repeated, there come these phrases: "One God, hidden in all creatures, Who envelops all, Who is the innermost soul of all creatures". The moment any man accepts such a conception, he sees that the inevitable corollary is Universal Brotherhood.
From the beginning, we have aimed to support this conception by the study of all religions and mysticisms, in order to show that in spite of divergencies they have all a common groundwork and a common aim. We accept all the facts of Science gathered in experimental research, though we give to them an interpretation that has a spiritual content and not that of materialism; nor do we in any way exclude all the departments
of culture created by humanity, especially that department which has given us all the many varieties of the Arts. It is our object to understand life in every one of its phrases, whether good or evil.
The fact that at the moment there are groups of Theosophists committed to the ideals of the Society in about fifty-six countries of the world shows that Theosophy has been found not merely attractive as an intellectual gospel, but is a vibrant source of encouragement to an ethical life, and shows a lofty ideal as life's goal.
Our future work is steadily to minimize among the peoples of the world, the dividing barriers of race, creed, sex, caste and color. The difficulties in the way of our work seem sometimes insuperable, owing to the hostility of the orthodox adherents of religion and of materialism. Nevertheless, since we have achieved remarkable results during the last seventy-five years, inspiring hundreds of thousands of people to enquire into what Truth is in reality, we have every encouragement to go forward in our work. For all the time he who understands Theosophy is not intent upon his own personal salvation, but on the betterment of humanity in every possible way.
THEOSOPHY IN ACTION
By Roy Mitchell
If we are to succeed in making this Theosophical Society nearer to that first heartening ideal in which it was begun, one of the things we must do is to restore intellect to its place. Not to the highest place, because it is implicit in Theosophy that there are realms into which intellect of itself may not go. There are none, however, from which it may not draw. We will be careful to correct that inferior and popularity-seeking mood in which it has become the fashion to offer new students a bargain route to the Supreme without traversing the realm of mind.
Least of all will we acquiesce in the cheap habit dismissing mental effort as being mere intellectualism and consequently privative of the things of the spirit, especially when such dismissal comes from those who have neither the courage nor the endurance to essay the necessary initiations of mind.
It is so great a temptation for a Theosophical student to try to cover up mental failure by saying "My dharma is not of the mind. Mine is a spiritual path," and thereby exalt his shortcomings into a specious semblance of virtue. His chief difficulty will not deceive anybody long, and this for the best occult reasons.
There is one sovereign test for whether he is living in the world of spirit or in the world of emotion. Focus of consciousness in the spiritual realm will fecundate mind. Focus of consciousness in the emotional realm will not. Spirit vivifies mind; emotion dulls it. Spirit focuses mind; emotion disperses it. If mind will not work freely and connectedly it is because the focus of consciousness is not interior to minds but exterior to it.
If my reader find himself in any doubt about this and be not merely of the type that persists in mistaking a brown study for a spiritual experience, he will do well to test it for himself. If
an exercise be genuinely spiritual and in even the slightest measure achieve its object, mind will race eagerly along its line of enquiry; it will capture clear analogy from within; it will refine words into clear and enlightening use; it will make vivid and flashing revaluations of life; it will endow its participants with a power of tongue. If he has penetrated for an instant into his spiritual being he will show it in thought, in speech which is the firstborn of thought, in movement and in love. These things he will find in himself and these things he is entitled to expect of spiritual devotees wherever he find them.
If it be that he mistakes the full reflection of Buddhi turned upside down in kama for the pure light of Buddhi itself, he may easily know it. He will have peace of a drugged sort, not an elated peace; he will be turgid and heavy or sounding and empty; he will parrot phrases he has heard instead of making them; he will resay reams he has read, and utter formulae he does not understand; he will feel far from the centre of life out at the edge of the disc as it spins - and will cling to things; he will be easily made apprehensive of evil, will react easily to anger. If his fear persist he will become fanatic.
Before any man has the right to condemn mind, he must satisfy us that he has transcended it, that he is so fully master of mind that he can create momentarily the radiant and golden fruit that is born of the meeting of mind and spirit. As well talk of going through to spirit without taking the initiations of mind as to talk of a diameter that does not pass through the centre of the circle, or of a road from two to four that does not pass through three.
Mind is not an end, nor must it ever be considered an end. It is none the less a means, and even the Bhakti, most pledged to devotion, considers it so.
There comes a tine at last for the sacrifice of mind to spirit, but it will profit us little to offer to sacrifice something we have not attained. Since few of us have mental powers worth any great stir in Heaven when we sacrifice them, least of all those among us who talk most of that sacrifice, we will do well to tarry a while with mind until we have something worth offering.
So tarrying, we may learn that mind will open many spiritual doors nothing else can. We will, find, as so few of our people give signs of having found, that the real problem of attaining to the siddhis of mind is the ability to control the lower self. That it is not an intellectual task nearly so much as a moral one. That when one's mind is clumsy and inept and his memory bad, rather than making a virtue of it and, pluming himself on being a Bhakti, he had better be about the work of quelling the lower self which renders his mind inefficient.
We Theosophists have come on a bad muddle these later days about the nature and place of mind, and it will be salutary for us to spend more time with Patanjali as we used to do. Patanjali is a regimen and far more healthful than a nostrum. We will learn from him that to be able to follow a line of reasoning to its logical and honest conclusion is a great thing and requires control over the animal nature. That beyond this discursive power lies the power to hold a single image in mind, concentrating attention upon it to the exclusion of all others. That beyond that again lies the power to contemplate an abstract idea until it becomes a full and potent concept drawing magnetically from the past and clarified by the light of Buddhi - of Hermes the messenger of the God. That beyond that again lies the far harder task of pushing every image out to the circumference of conscious mind and remaining thus positively and definitely free from a spec-
tacle, to let the cognitions of Buddhi mirror themselves in a crystal-clear pool of mind. This is meditation, the standing midway between the God and the lower self, the postulant of the spirit.
I think that realizing how hard the mount of vision is to climb and that these steps must be taken patiently in the order I have given, we will learn to be honest with our newcomers and let them waste as little time as possible with our present substitutes for this living proof of the truths of Theosophy. We may then find a more modest word than meditation for that quaint practice of recent years of sitting with palms on knees and feet on floor and thinking at random as at a seance. Even the position is merely funny. It closes no bodily circuits, as in the great postures of meditation. It is like trying to catch water in a bottomless bucket. If we must do it and in groups, another quaint practice against which Jesus earnestly entreated us, let us call it quiet thought or something like that and make it clear that meditation is a great exercise and follows only upon mastery over the mercuric tendencies of mind. That it is the sacramental crown and glory of an intellectual achievement so many of our people have hoped against hope they will not need to bother about. We must be honest above all things. The Masters would like that better than multitudes dishonestly attracted.
So when we hear talk about variety of mind let us remember that there is not nearly so much variety of mind as we think, but only variety of the distortions and disturbances of emotion through which it is projected.
The ability to think clearly and well, as to speak or write clearly and well, is wrested by toil and patience and repeated effort from the lower self, and anybody with the will to go into his closet and close the door and strive with a mental problem can solve it so. Mind will never defeat him. But laziness will and drowsiness will, and fear of failure and hope of success and doubt of the value of his work, and lack of fortitude, and habitual self-indulgence, restlessness of body and recent anger.
The phrase "Mind is the great slayer of the Real," must not be wrenched out of its true place in the Great Work. There is a phrase that demands attention far earlier on the path than that and with it we are more immediately concerned because so few of us have passed it. "Let not the senses make a playground of the mind." That will hold most of us this life. Any there be beyond that will reveal themselves by their fruits of spirit.
(Next month Spirituality.)
"However often the true nature of the occult training has been stated and explained, few Western students seem to realize how searching and inexorable are the tests which a candidate must pass before power is entrusted to his hands. Esoteric philosophy, the occult hygiene of mind and body, the unlearning of false beliefs, and the acquisition of true habits of thought, are more than sufficient for the student during his period of probation, and those who rashly pledge themselves in the expectation of acquiring `magic powers', will meet
only with disappointment and certain failure." - Lucifer, Dec. 1888.
THE CLOSED MIND
Where is the man who can be utterly free? We are all in jail but very few of us realize that fact. We are prisoners of our desires.
First, there are those of us who, because of fear, desire physical security. In our ignorance, we think this can be attained through what is commonly called wealth, and many men give their entire lives to the accumulation of physical things, none of which they can take with them when they leave for parts unknown. In Luke XII: 18-20, Jesus tells of the man who built new barns in which to store his increasing wealth, saying to himself, `Take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry." But God said unto him, 'Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?" And again Jesus said, (Matt. VI, 25) "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body what ye shall put on." But where is the Christian who lives in accordance with that which he publicly and repeatedly professes to believe?
Then there are those of us who fear loneliness, who must lean on the crutches of personal relationships, seeking emotional security in love and friendships. But where is that security when the loved one dies?
Lastly there are those of us who desire the immortality of the personal self, an illusion in the world of time and space as compared with the Eternal in the world of the REAL, who seek security in a creed or belief that promises immortality in the hereafter.
Of these three fundamental prisons there are countless varieties and degrees. There is the adherent of one of the Christian sects founded upon a very literal interpretation of the Bible who believes the world was created in six days about 6000 years ago and who ignores all proof to the contrary. When confronted with geological facts, this person disposes of them easily and completely by saying, "God created the world that way." Such a mind is absolutely closed to the discovery of truth. And there is the political prison equally impossible to penetrate; the man who who believes without question what is printed in his class organ, but who refuses to even read or listen to any other information since it is all "propaganda of the capitalistic press," or the communist press, or the labor press, etc.
As we read the above, most of us will be inclined to think it does not apply to us, but a careful self-examination will nearly always disclose to every one of us that we are to some extent, at least, prisoners of our beliefs, which we have adopted because we were born into them, or educated into them, or have ourselves built them up as an escape from our fears, either physical, emotional of intellectual.
- G. H. Hall.
DOES EARTH RECALL?
Does earth in the autumn sadness,
Dream on the butterfly's madness -
Its winged delight 'mong gaudy flowers,
Through summer's sweetly scented hours -
When leaves of gold and jade and dun
By wild and sullen winds are spun
To stage, ere death, with frenzied zest,
A Bacchanal on her cold breast?
- A. J. R.
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
The Quarterly Meeting of the General Executive was held at 52 Isabella Street, Toronto on Sunday October 22nd and was attended by Miss M. Hindsley, Messrs. Dudley Barr, Mr. George Kinman and the General Secretary. The Committee heard with interest a detailed report given by Mr. Kinman concerning the visits made by Mr. and Mrs. Kinman during August and September to various Canadian lodges in the western provinces and to members and adherents at places in which lodges have not been organized. Apart from this report nothing other than ordinary routine business was brought before the meeting. The next meeting will take place the first Sunday in January.
I regret to announce the death of Mr. George H. Hyatt on November 2nd, an old member who joined the Toronto Lodge nearly 28 years ago. Quiet and unobtrusive he was a regular attendant at the meetings until failing health intervened; his kindly presence will be sadly missed.
I feel our Editor should be congratulated on an outstanding Anniversary Number of the Magazine. Whilst most theosophical magazines have made an issue of the occasion ours is the only one to indulge in a special cover such as appears on the November issue. Mr. Eric Aldwinckle, a member of the Toronto Lodge was asked to design the cover and rose to the occasion, producing a really fine design both artistically and theosophically.
Two letters from correspondents call for note. One from Professor Ernest Wood who with Mrs. Wood spent some months in Bermuda and more recently in New York where he has been checking the final proofs of his latest book "The Glorious Presence"; and the other from Mr. John Coats with a most interesting description of his tour in New Zealand and Australia where he is on a lecturing tour. Both close their letters with a request that I convey to all their friends in Canada their best wishes and remembrances. This I gladly do now.
The following new members have recently joined and are warmly welcomed into the Society: - Mrs. Mae C. Doig, Member at Large; Miss Delia Hulse, Member at Large; Mrs. Betty J. Lankiri, St. Thomas Lodge; Mr. Lawrence Yates, Montreal Lodge.
To a distraught world the story of the Nativity once again gleams like the traditional Star in the East bringing thoughts of peace and hope to a long-suffering humanity.
However the lesson to be learned from this is that the infant in the manger at Bethlehem is but a symbol of the Christ-Spirit which is latent in every one of us and the realization and birth of this in our own hearts is the only thing that will bring about that condition of "Peace on Earth - Goodwill toward Men" which is so urgently necessary today.
In extending best wishes for a Happy Christmas, I do so in the hope that the ameliorating influence of the Christ-Spirit may guide the nations at this critical time.
- E. L. T.
"If through the Hall of Wisdom thou wouldst reach the Vale of Bliss, Disciple, close fast thy sense against the great dire heresy of Separateness that weans thee from the rest."
- Voice of the Silence.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
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OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
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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.
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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.
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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.
Occult Masonry by Roy Mitchell which is being published by the Blavatsky Institute (Toronto) under the title Through Temple Doors, Studies in Occult Masonry, will be on sale this month. The paper bound copies will be priced at $1.00 and may be ordered from the Institute at 52 Isabella St., Toronto.
The Link (South Africa) in its 75th Anniversary Number revived a story first published several years ago to the effect that the occult hierarchy almost worked itself into a tizzy in trying to decide whether H.P.B. or Annie Besant should be chosen to establish the Theosophical Movement in 1875. This story received so much ridicule and criticism when it was first published that we thought it had been quietly relegated to the limbo of things best forgotten. There is nothing in the Mahatma Letters to indicate that the Masters had the slightest intention of choosing Mrs. Besant or any person other than H.P.B. as their messenger. Mrs. Besant was a mature woman when the Society was founded; about a year before she became a member of the T.S. a letter was received by Colonel Olcott from the Master K.H. in which it was stated that H. P. B. was the agent of the Masters and that "there is no likelihood of our finding a better one for years to come and your theosophists should be made to understand it. . ." Apparently some theosophists do not want to understand this. The major difficulty in the Movement today is the rejection of H.P.B. and the teachings which she brought. It would be fatal to attempt to lay down the dictum `H.P.B.'s teachings alone are Truth'; theosophists should be students of all sources of truth. The problem is that H.P.B.'s teachings and flat contradictions of these teachings are both being presented as `Theosophy'.
The unexpected death of Edna St. Vincent Millay (Mrs. E. Jan Boissevain) at her home at Austerlitz, N.Y., on October 19th removed one of the outstandiug creative artists of this century.
Miss Millay was one in whom genius was revealed early in life; one of her best poems `Renasence' was written at the age of 19. "We come from a world where we have known incredible standards of excellence and we dimly remember beauties which we have not seized upon; and we go back to that world."
If there had been a Men of the Trees Society when H.P.B. was alive, she might have been elected an honorary member of that organization. Noting the wanton destruction of forests in India, she wrote warnings against this practice, pointing out the far-reaching consequences of such action. Her words written to India in 1879 are applicable to this continent today: "While every patriotic Hindu bewails the decadence of his country, few realize the real cause. It is neither in foreign rule, excessive taxation, nor crude and exhaustive husbandry, so much as in the destruction of the forests. The stripping of the hills and drainage-slopes of their vegetation is a positive crime against the nation . . . We need only glance at the pages of history to see that ruin and ultimate extinction of national power follow the extirpation of forests as surely as night follows day. Nature has provided the means for human development and her laws can never be violated without disaster . . . "
While the idea of the universal brotherhood of man without distinction of race, creed, sex, cast or color is slowly advancing consolidating positions as it goes forward, the idea of the universal brotherhood of men without distinction of economical and political beliefs has not even got under way. Those now in incarnation are living in one of the major critical periods in human history. The world crucible is seething and the nature of the catalist will determine the results.
Adyar, Madras 20, India,
October 31, 1950.
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist,
52 Isabella Street, Toronto 5, Canada.
In the September issue of the magazine the Editor states, "The Esoteric School is now a separate corporate body." H.P.B. founded the E.S. in 1888 under the name "The Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society". In order to separate the new body completely from the Society, she changed the name in 1889 to "The Eastern School of Theosophy". Thus, the separation which you intimate has only happened "now" has actually been in existence for sixty-one years.
The authority for the "now" is Mr. Sri Ram's statement at a General Council meeting in 1949. ". . . now that it (the Esoteric School, Ed.) is a registered body. . . " This was in connection with the proposed transfer of ownership of the Mahatma pictures to the E.S.; the fact that the E.S. was "now a registered body" was one of the reasons given for the proposed transfer. We were aware that H.P.B. had officially separated the E.S. from the T.S. in 1889, but the natural inference to be drawn from Mr. Sri Ram's words was that the E.S. had recently undergone some change in its corporate status, that it was now a corporate body duly registered with the federal or state authorities, and that as a registered corporation it had the power to own property. Surely Mr. Sri Ram did not intend the word "now" to refer to some event in 1889.
The quotation given by Mr. Jinarajadasa is from a paragraph concerning the application of the policy of dissocia-
tion to the Esoteric School. Possibly Mr. Jinarajadasa will now make a pronouncement on this important matter. - D.W.B.
In re "Immortality as in the Esoteric Tradition."
A Vancouver member sent in the following quotation, remarking that it appeared to controvert the main conclusion arrived at by Mr. Alex.Wayman in the article bearing the above title which appeared in the October Issue. We were very glad to receive this and will look forward to Mr. Wayman's comments with interest.
In an Article entitled "Isis Unveiled and the Vishistadvaita" by H. P. Blavatsky in the January 1886 Theosophist the following extract is to be found:
"Whether it be orthodox Adwaita or not, I maintain as an occultist, on the authority of the Secret Doctrine, that though merged entirely into Parabrahm, man's spirit while not individual per se, yet preserves its distinct individuality in Paranirvana, owing to the accumulation in it of the aggregates, or skandhas that have survived after each death, from the highest faculties of the Manas. The most spiritual - i.e., the highest and divinest aspirations of every personality follow Buddhi and the Seventh Principle into Devachan (Swarga) after the death of each personality along the line of rebirths, and become part and parcel of the Monad. The personality fades out, disappearing before the occurrence of the evolution of the new personality (rebirth) out of Devachan; but the individuality of the spirit-soul (dear, dear, what can be made out of this English) is preserved, to the end of the great cycle (Maha-Manwantara) when each Ego enters Paranirvana, or is merged in Parabrahm. To our talpatic, or mole-like, comprehension the human spirit is then lost in the One Spirit, as the drop of water thrown into the sea can no longer be traced out and recovered. But de facto it is not so in the world of immaterial thought. This latter stands in relation to the human dynamic thought, as, say, the visual power through the strongest conceivable microscope would be to the sight of a half-blind man; and yet even this is a most insufficient simile - the difference is "inexpressible in terms of foot-pounds." That such Parabrahmic and Paranirvanic `spirits,' or units, have and must preserve their divine (not human) individualities, is shown in the fact that, however long the "night of Brahma" or even the Universal Pralaya (not the local Pralaya affecting some one group of worlds) yet, when it ends, the same individual Divine Monad resumes its majestic path of evolution, though on a higher, hundredfold perfected and more pure chain of earths than before, and brings with it all the essence of compound spiritualities from its previous countless rebirths. Spiral evolution, it must be remembered, is dual, and the path of spirituality turns, corkscrew-like, within and around physical, semi-physical and supra-physical evolution. But I am being tempted into details which had best be left for the full consideration which their importance merits to my forthcoming work, the Secret Doctrine."
THE DESTINY OF THE EGO
"From strength to strength, from the beauty and perfection of one plane to the greater beauty and perfection of another, with accessions of new glory, of fresh knowledge and power in each cycle, such is the destiny of every Ego, which thus becomes its own saviour in each world and incarnation."
- The Key to Theosophy.
TO THE THEOSOPHISTS GATHERED IN FRATERNIZATION IN HELSINKI, NOVEMBER, 1950
It is, just three years ago that I visited you in Finland, and my mind turns once more to all of you that I might be with you in spirit during this annual Theosophical Fraternization Meeting which you are holding for the purpose of cementing more firmly the ties of brotherly love between the various Theosophical groups in Finland. To each and all of you I send my fraternal good wishes for a happy and successful meeting, and my sincere hopes that it will be productive of the spirit of harmony and devotion to the message of H.P.B., which, I believe is the ultimate purpose of this gathering.
There are many things that I have in my heart and mind to write about, and it would be well to say first of all that this message is not to be considered as an official document from the Covina Theosophical Society, but it should be regarded in the same light as my visit to you, that is to say, it is a message that I send to you privately as a friend and co-worker, who is one with you in spirit, and who wishes you the fulfilment of our mutual goal, which is constructive collaboration between Theosophists everywhere as one of the foundation-stones of the Brotherhood of man.
There are certain matters that are very close and dear to Theosophists; and of these I shall write, and I venture to say that some of my thoughts have been expressed by others before me, for there are Theosophists scattered over the earth who are longing for the day when we shall all be united in thought and deed, that the work may grow as it was intended that it should grow. It is well to pause and remind ourselves of these fundamental ideas at a time like this when our devotion runs high, and while we feel that we stand closer to the open door through which we look for inspiration from Those who guide the work.
In these troubled times it is only natural that we should wonder if the Masters of Wisdom are still working through the Theosophical Movement, and if so, where is their influence to be felt. There seems to be an abiding faith that we are not forgotten, and this conviction expresses itself in the thoughts held by many that during the closing years of this century, a Messenger will come who will revitalize the Theosophical work. It seems appropriate to speak of it at this time because it is the midpoint of the century, and there is a certain amount of speculation flying about as to the possibility of the appearance of the Messenger. Except for the fact that a number of minds are dwelling on this matter, it would be premature to speak of it so many years in advance of the expected time. But inasmuch as the year 1950 marks a turning point in the century, and as we seem to be entering upon the final period of waiting, the subject comes to our minds with some intensity just now, and it would be well then if we take the time to consider the matter with logic and wisdom, and clarify the picture for ourselves so that we might know how to prepare ourselves in the years that lie ahead.
In the first place, although H.P.B. points to the year 1975 as the year when a new Messenger will be sent into the world from the White Lodge, I am unaware that she has committed the White
Lodge to send such a teacher to any known body of Theosophical Students, nor is he to be expected at a definite time, so far as I know. And I am sure that the last thing that she would want to see is the Theosophical Movement split up into a number of factions, each of which vies with the others in proclaiming itself to be the chosen vehicle for this Messenger. If H.P.B. were here in person, are we to imagine that she would lead any one of the existing Theosophical Societies to the exclusion of all the others? When she was with us, she guided the Theosophical Movement as a whole, for the various national Theosophical Societies which she founded were much more closely knitted together in the Theosophical Movement than they are now. Indeed, I greatly fear that today there would be no place for her, and by the same token, unless the Theosophical Movement rebecomes the beating heart of all Theosophical endeavor, there will be no fit vehicle for the new Messenger, when and if he should appear. For him to select only one Theosophical Society as his chosen vehicle would immediately bring to the surface all the pent-up jealousies in the natures of the members of the other Societies, that would then be disappointed, and the resulting disharmony would tear down the noble work that we have built up during the last three-quarters of a century. One of the by-products of this calamity could easily be the appearance of several would-be Saviours, and untold confusion could then result. Can you imagine such a sad outcome of the work founded by H.P.B.?
What then is to be done about it? The answer seems simple enough. This Theosophical Movement which contains all the Theosophical Societies seems to be a very nebulous, or should we say, a very non-material thing. Where is it? Does it have any buildings, any offices, any literature? Has it a President, a Cabinet, and other officials? It has none of these things, we must admit, and yet it is a very real thing. But it has to become much more real to us, for it is the heart, the vital drive behind every Theosophical Society, Lodge and individual member.
Now, if we are willing to accept the postulate that it is through the Theosophical Movement as a whole that the "1975 Messenger" will work, then we must prepare that vehicle before his coming, so that he will be able to step in, and will find about him men and women of high caliber, who are fitted and trained to help him in the arduous work that he will undertake. Therefore I envisage the time when the Theosophical Movement will be corporealized to the extent that members who have demonstrated by the quality of their work in the various Theosophical Societies, and to their steadfastness to the principles as laid down by the Faundress, will band together in a group and will form a core or Center of Theosophical work that will transcend sectarian limitations, and will be the repository of the kernel of Theosophical wisdom, unsullied by ambition, political bickerings or sectarian prejudice. I forsee the time when all the Theosophical Societies will contribute of their wealth of literature, historical documents, and individual talents, as well as what material resources are available, to provide suitable grounds, buildings and funds to carry on this very specialized work that such a Center would have to carry on. For, as every branch of the Theosophical Movement would contribute to the formation of such a Center, so, conversely, every branch would benefit enormously from the work of this Center of Theosophical activity. Inter-Society magazines would be published, new books would be printed which would carefully explain the simple and the advanced teachings, and
there would be the opportunity for students to study the best methods of furthering the work.
In such a Center, one idea must prevail, which might well be summed up in H.P.B.'s own words: "First deserve, then desire". No promise is expressed or implied that were this Center to be established, the Messenger would inevitably choose it as his focus of work. And if the thought that he must do so is uppermost in our minds, we shall almost certainly be disappointed. The Masters are not concerned with our wishes, nor with our opinions of how things should be. Their work is mundial, and they wild work where they can do the most good for the greatest number in the human race.
So what if we are disappointed? No harm will come of it at all. The establishment of such a Center, and the sincere effort on the part of all Theosophists to work together can bring good only to the world, and if it were not visited by the Messenger, it might well be because it is strong enough to carry on of its own initiative, and the Masters would be free to work where they are more needed. That would indeed be a high achievement for the Theosophical Movement! So, wherever he works, even if it be in some way not ordinarily supposed to be strictly Theosophical as we understand the word, we could still aid his work immeasurably by carrying on along the lines already made abundantly clear to us. For there is one purpose in the work of Theosophists everywhere - the establishment of a Universal Brotherhood through the spiritual awakening of mankind.
It is granted that the work of the Theosophical Movement could not be centralized in the manner outlined above, at the present time. In the troubled conditions of the world, such an international effort might be viewed with suspicion, for it must open its doors to Theosophists of all nations, barring none. And though the present turmoil may last for many years yet, it will end. That is why we must begin to orient our thinking from the present terms of `our Society" and "Your Society" to "the Theosophical Movement" and "Universal Brotherhood". When we succeed in doing this, the next step will become obvious, because it will be the outgrowth of a need that will be felt by all of us. Then nothing can stop the progress of the Theosophical Movement.
So, friends and co-workers, these are the thoughts that I would share with you. And with them go to each and all of my friends in Finland, my warmest greetings and affectionate remembrances. I wish it were possible for me to come to see you; perhaps in some future year it can be arranged. But be sure that I am with you in spirit today.
L. Gordon Plummer.
209 Civic Center,
San Diego, California
A brochure entitled "Son of England" written by Miss Helen Veale is of absorbing interest. It purports to be a diary kept by a young girl, Alice Barnham beginning when she was ten years
of age in the year 1600. She was destined to become Lady Bacon and in her formative years began that devotion to her future husband which was to last till her death. Through it all there is an intense desire (for apparently she knew all the facts) that he should be recognized not only as the rightful heir to the British throne but as the author of the Shakespeare plays. The diary, as written by Miss Veale is imaginative and contains answers to all the questions that have arisen in connection
with the Shakespeare v Bacon controversy. To those interested in "Baconiana" it is a mine of information and although some of the questions answered did not arise for some hundreds of years later it is none the less most plausible. The whole gamut of the controversy is succintly written with no waste of words. I congratulate Miss Veale on a really worthwhile story of the whole question. It is a book difficult to lay down once started, for it is not only well written, but is entertaining, and informative as well as most useful for those taking up the cudgels on behalf of Lord Bacon. It is obtainable for the small sum of Rupees 2/8/- from The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras 20, India.
- E. L. T.
The Drama of the Soul, by Shabaz Britten Best, published by John M. Watkins, London, 165 pages with two illus-trations, price 12s. 6d.
This book is subtitled "A Mystical interpretation of the Gospels, describing the Inner Initiation of the Master Jesus", which concisely sets out the author's purpose. The story of Jesus is not the life history of a man who lived in Palestine 1950 years ago, but is one presentation only of the eternal drama of the inner being of every man who comes to `the point of turning' and resolves to achieve union with the Divine. The author necessarily includes material which has been set out in other studies of this subject, but he also indicates the significant mystical interpretation of many other Biblical texts. It will be a serviceable book for those who seek an inner interpretation of the Christian message.
A DEATH IS ANNOUNCED
Mrs. Walter Tibbits whose name and work is familiar to the readers of the Canadian Theosophist through her writings which appeared in the earlier numbers of the magazine, sent in the following self-explanatory clipping from the Evening News and Evening Standard (London). Earlier this year Mrs. Tibbits had sent in an account of the detailed arrangements which she had made respecting the cremation of her body and the disposal of her ashes. Mrs. Tibbits is facing her approaching demise with unusual calmness and confidence, and possibly with a certain eager anticipation. In the circumstances the conventional expressions of regret and condolence would be quite out of order and we can only extend the hand of friendship and say 'Godspeed'.
Ashes to the Ganges
"Cheerfully Mrs. Walter Tibbits, 80-year-old widow of an Indian Army officer, has been telling me of her preparations for death. She took the death of her friend, Lady Crump, a week ago as an omen.
She first took her husband's ashes from the urn in her bedroom, wrapped them in a silk cloth, and consigned them to the Serpentine near Lancaster Gate. `He was so very British,' she explained.
Next she arranged with Mr. Krishna Menon, High Commissioner for India, that his legal adviser, Mr. Narayan Iyer, a Brahmin, should supervise her cremation. An exponent of Hinduism half her life, she will be cremated in sunset-colored ascetic's robes. Her ashes will be sent to Benares and scattered on the waters of the Ganges.
A firm of undertakers have their instructions and a clerk of Westminster Bank, executors of her husband's fortune, will see that her wishes are observed. The fortune will be bequeathed to the Theosophical libraries at Adyar and Benares.
Mrs. Tibbits has written nine books on Hinduism. Her latest book, "Hell's Bells," tells of her imprisonment in Paris by the Germans during the war."
Toronto Theosophical Society held a very successful Christmas Bazaar on Saturday afternoon and evening, November 25th, in the Hall on Isabella Street. Red and green garlands on the ways made an attractive background for the various booths and evergreen branches and Christmas ornaments were also used effectively. Mrs. E. Cunningham was general convenor of the Bazaar and welcomed the many visitors. Mrs. J.W. Gaunt was hostess during the afternoon when tea was served at small tables on the platform of the main hall, with Santa Claus in miniature presiding under a gay red umbrella. A buffet supper, with Mrs. W.G. Hyland as hostess, was served in the social rooms upstairs, the tables being effectively decorated with Christmas greenery. Convenors of the Bazaar booths were: Aprons and Sewing, Mrs. D.W. Barr; Gifts, Mrs. N. Fergusson; Books, Mrs. E.B. Dustan; Mystery Draws, Miss G. Burgar and Miss K. Lazier; "White Elephants", Mrs. G.I. Kinman; Fortunes, Miss M. Hindsley; Lucky Draws, Miss L. Gaunt; "Pantry Shelf", Miss E. Budd; Assisting were: Mrs. H.J. Cable, Mrs. L.E. McLaughlin, Mrs. E.J. Norman, Mrs. Wm. Stevens, Mrs. R. Illingworth, Mrs. Roy Emsley, Mrs. J.C. Clifford, Mrs. R. Somers, Mrs. R. Webb, Mrs. J. Higgins, Mrs. G. Dibble, Mrs. E. Glauser, Mrs. K. Surrey, Mrs. W. Rock, Mrs. A.J. Rowell, Mrs. J. Ziegler, Mrs. O. Weaver, Mrs. E. Adams, Misses M. Todd, S. Ballard, C. Tyrer, E. Hamilton, M. Warwick, F. Moon, I. McArthur, M. Norman, A. Smith, E. Angus. Visitors from out-of-town included Mr. and Mrs. C. Bunting, Mrs. G. Miller, Mrs. A. Hambly, Miss M. Tristram from Hamilton, and Mrs. H. Elmsley of London, Ontario.
- Mrs. G. I. Kinman,
Corresponding Secretary, Toronto Lodge.
- CALGARY LODGE: President, E.H. Lloyd Knechtel; Secretary, Mrs. Lilian Glover, 418, 10th Ave. N.W., Calgary, Alta. Meetings at 231 Examiner Bldg.
- EDMONTON LODGE: President, Mr. E. Wood, Secretary, Mrs. N. Dalzell, Suite 1, Maclean Block, Edmonton, Alta.
- HAMILTON LODGE: President, Mrs. E.M. Mathers; Secretary, Miss Mablel Carr, 108 Balsam Avenue South, Hamilton, Ont.
- KITCHENER LODGE: President, John Oberlerchener; Secretary, Alexander Watt. P.O. Box 74
- MONTREAL LODGE: President, Mrs. A. Ovenden; Secretary, Mrs. Henry Lorimer, 376 Redfern Ave., Apt 25, Westmount, P.Q. Lodge Rooms, 1501 St. Catherine Street West, Montreal, Que.
- OTTAWA LODGE: Enquiries respecting Theosophical activities in Ottawa should be addressed to: Mrs. D. H. Chambers, 531 Bay Street, Ottawa, Ont.
- ST. THOMAS LODGE: President Benj. T. Garside, Secretary, Mrs. Hazel B, Garside, General Delivery, St. Thomas, Ont.
- TORONTO LODGE: President, Mr. G.I. Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Ave., Toronto 12 (phone Mohawk 5346). Recording Secretary, Miss Laura Gaunt. Lodge Rooms 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ont.
- TORONTO WEST END LODGE: President, Mrs. A. Carmichael; Secretary, Mrs. E.L. Goss, 20 Strathearn Boulevard, Toronto, 12, Ont.
- VANCOUVER LODGE: President, Mrs. Buchanan; Secretary, M.D. Buchanan, 4621 W. 6th Ave., The Lodge rooms are at 151 1/2 Hastings St. West
- VULCAN LODGE: President, Guy Denbigh, Vulcan, Alta.
- ORPHEUS LODGE, VANCOUVER: President, R.H. Hedley; Lodge room, Room 12, 163 Hastings Street, Vancouver.
- WINNIPEG LODGE: Secretary, P.H. Stokes, Suite 7, 149 Langside Street, Winnipeg, Man.
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
The Theosophical Society was formed at New York in 1875. It has three objects:
1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.
3. To investigate the unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.
The Society affords a meeting place for students who have three aims in common, first, the ideal of Universal Brotherhood; second, the search for Truth, and third, a desire to associate and work with other men and women having similar aims and ideals. The acceptance of the First Object is required of all those who desire to become members; whether or not a member engages actively in the work contemplated in the Second and Third Objects is left to his or her discretion.
The nature and purposes of the Society preclude it from having creeds or dogmas, and freedom of thought and expression among its members is encouraged. An official statement on this point is; " . . . . there is no opinion, by whomsoever taught or held, that is in any way binding on any member of the Society, none of which a member is not free to accept or reject." The statement calls upon the members "to maintain, defend, and act upon this fundamental principle . . . and fearlessly to exercise his own right of liberty of thought and of expression thereof within the limits of courtesy and consideration for others."
Theosophy or `Divine Wisdom' is that body of ancient truths relating to the spiritual nature of man and the universe which has found expression down through the ages in religions, philosophies, sciences, the arts, mysticism, occultism and other systems of thought. Theosophy is not the exclusive possession of any one organization. In the modern Theosophical Movement, these ancient truths have been restated and an extensive literature on the subject has come into being. The teachings are not put forward for blind belief; they are to be accepted only if the truth that is in them finds an echo in the heart. Each student should by `self induced and self-devised' methods establish his own Theosophy, his own philosophy of life. The Movement encourages all students of Theosophy to become self-reliant, independent in thought, mature in mind and emotions and, above all other things to work for the welfare of mankind to the end that humanity as a whole may become aware of its diviner powers and capabilities.