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Vol. XXXI, No. 11 Toronto, January 15th, 1951 Price 20 Cents
Join hands, ye nations,
this is the last call:
join hands, or the Play ends,
and the curtains fall.
Gun and bomb and sword
have had their day:
now for the living Word
and the King's way.
Let Peace be the Bridegroom;
if he is denied
Death will take his place,
and earth will be the bride.
It is yours to say.
This is the last call:
join hands, or the Play ends,
and the curtains fall.
- Wilson MacDonald
OUR FATHER-MOTHER GOD
(Some Implications of the First Fundamental)
Our father-mother God is both hidden and revealed. Darkness is about the pavilion of His absolute essence. But effulgent light streams from the face of that which is His reflected image or likeness. And spirit-matter is His name.
The first fundamental introduces us to the absolute Parabrahm and the relative God or Iswara who creates the universe out of his own substance, as a spider its web. The one exists on the plane of unknowable reality. The other has its being in a space-time world of knowable forms. Though Parabrahm is superior and unattached to the world of objects and ideas yet neither idea, energy nor form could exist without the Absolute.
This omnipresent principle is said to be without attributes or qualities. In other words it cannot be apprehended by the logical faculty. And only vaguely can Its nature be sensed (says H.P.B.) by the most highly developed intuitive mind. But the individualized Iswara, which is Atma, can be realized in abstract meditation. Pure consciousness, in its stark simplicity, can be abstracted from all impressions and perceptions, and held in a sustained one-pointedness, by the alert and concentrated will of the yogin.
At each manvantaric dawning the divine creator by the extension of energy divides his essence into those basic opposites - spirit and matter. At that cyclic hour the "virgin mother" or eternal space is said to awaken from her slumber. From unity is produced the duad and from the duad plurality and variety are born. The latter state of differentiation may be defined as limited portions of illimitable space.
That space is a form of the mind, and matter therefore not independent of our perceptions, H.P.B. admits in the Secret Doctrine.* [* See S.D. vol. I, p. 604-5 and footnote (p. 603)] She never considered space to be the absolute container that Newton thought it was. She realized that direction or locale was relative to our frame of reference. In fact she went so far as to assert that the occult doctrine respecting a plurality of worlds, coadunited but not cosubstantial with one another, received strong metaphysical support from this truism of Kantian and Vedantic idealism.
Upholding as, she did the principal tenet of the Samkya * philosophy that purusha and prakriti (spirit and matter) are eternal and coeval counterparts, that the objective-subjective relationship persists in gross or tenuous worlds, she could logically conceive of psychic intelligences operating in material mediums of the density of "flint and platinum". [* Theosophy (like the Gita) escaped the dualism of Samkya by making spirit and matter facets of the absolute Unity.] Indeed, the theosophical doctrine respecting the infinite divisibility of space* implies the existence of "any number of unperceived perspectives" to borrow the words of Bertrand Russell. [* Space is both a "limitless void" and a "conditioned fullness" says H.P.B.] In the light of these assumptions H.P.B.'s references to pre-physical globes, inhabited by beings endowed with senses and organs corresponding to their ethereal environments, is not an
appeal to blind credulity. Consistent with this belief in a vast objective Invisible were her remarks relating to natural energies like light, heat, magnetism and electricity. She pointed out that the remote, as distinct from the immediate, causes of these are to be found in supersensuous states of matter, objective to the extrasensory faculty of the occult seer.
Unlike some subjectivists in our midst H.P.B. never banished the objective or relative universe as non-existent or as a phantasm less real than the consciousness which fabricated it. To her, spirit without matter was an unthinkable abstraction for the two, though separate, are eternally conjoined. She specifically urged that "the term `Matter' * ought to be applied to the aggregate of objects of posible perception" in the interests of accuracy and clarity. [* To the modern physicist matter is a "system of waves". But this is a proposition verifiable only in a laboratory. It can never adequately represent all our experienced reality. The atom, itself, is just a shorthand expression for a set of relations. At best it is a pictorial concept that explains a certain range of phenomena. Many people realize the foolishness of trying to build a metaphysics out the theories of the physicist. The latter has revealed a universe that is basically inconsistent - a universe that we can never fully understand - and a universe that certainly will never provide us with sanctions for those ethical ideals of mercy and kindness.] She would no doubt agree with the anti-subjectivist statement of Max Planck (Philosophy of Physics): "Yet every reasonable person must be convinced that the sun's light would not be diminished in the least even if the whole of mankind were to perish." How could it be otherwise to the theosophist, for whom it is a metaphysical fundamental that objectivity and subjectivity are complementary aspects of God's being.
The mayavic world of sensible things, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial, owe their durability, then, to the divine creator Iswara. At the same time the conditioned universe on any playte of existence corresponds to the powers and functions of the limited individual ego. As H.P.B. has asserted `the characteristics of matter must bear a direct relation always to the senses of man". She even went so far as to predict that matter will present an entirely new feature of "permeability" when man has unfolded the now latent faculty of "normal clairvoyance".
It is generally admitted that what philosophers from the days of Democritus have termed primary and secondary characteristics of matter - extension, motion, color, taste and smell - are data intimately connected with, and dependent upon, the subjective activity of sensation. Nevertheless, consonant with her theory of the continuance of objectivity on superphysical planes, H.P.B. insisted on the existence of substance or the noumenon of matter. This was the ding an sich underlying those kaleidoscopic pictures projected by the divine consciousness, through mind-reflection, on the screen of time.
For all that, the external world for her was indubitably real. It was real as far as the empirical self was concerned. She explained phenomena, as the modifications of subjectivity, ever mindful, as she was, of Iswara's bifurcated Being.
Although we are relative beings so constituted as to live, move and have our being in conditioned worlds of becoming, yet the primal Unity which is the Absolute has left its indelible and magnetic impress on our minds. Urged thereto by an inner compulsion scient-
ists * and philosophers must perforce seek a unifying principle which may reduce and order the multiplicity of the external world. [* In the opinion of the noted physicist and anti-positivist Emile Meyerson, science is a rational rather than a useful procedure and it is the tendency of the scientific mind to seek unity. In his book Identity and Reality (London, 1908), the sharp challenge of which the years have not dulled, he contends that the scientist is impelled by the very constitution of his mind to seek unity or what he calls "identity in time". It is this search for the permanent in change, he says, that has begotten the atomistic theories, the laws of inertia, causality, conservation of energy, not to mention others.] It is the practice to abandon the complex theory in favor of the simpler one. Not because it was less scientific than the Copernican was the Ptolemaic theory rejected. Both adequately explained the movements of the planets without having recourse to some unobservable law or agent. But the Copernican theory possessed the merit of being simpler and of rendering superfluous certain assumptions, like the immovability of the earth, necessary to the displaced hypothesis.
Just so, in the work-a-day world we strive to realize the ideal good, as ethical beings, overshadowed as we are by the Absolute, even though experience has shown that the absolute attainment of perfection is an impossibility. Paradoxically enough, we aspire to the absolute though we can only know as relative beings, an eternal approximation to the ideal. To twist slightly Browning's poetic aphorism: A man's reach must exceed his grasp or what's an absolute for? We may have failed the Self many times. We may have been disappointed in those fellow-travellers on "the path" who do not conform to our idealized imaginative image of their characters. Yet, so irresistible is the spell of the ideal exercised upon us, we rise again and again, spiritually resilient, after every experience that is as a withering blast and a searing fire. With the instinctive persistence of a spider we tirelessly build anew our temples not made with hands, eternal in the havens. We possess a divine magic that Humpty-Dumpty never had. We can always gather together the shards of our brokenness and be whole again.
Nor in the field of aesthetics can we express or come upon absolute beauty. Just the same we are goaded, afflicted with a divine nostalgia, as it were, to seek the glory and the gleam, ever; for, as St. Augustine has well said, God has so framed us that we are restless till we final our peace in Him. By a power, it would seem, beyond our wills we are committed to the search for supernal loveliness. But, as relative beings, we stumble only upon suggestive reminders by the way. In its absoluteless the quality of beauty cannot be seen or felt or intellectually grasped. It is as unknowable as Parabrahm. The abstraction beauty has a thousand reflections, but no one can look upon its unveiled face and live.
The primal unity, the Absolute, is truly the ground of relative manifested being. On the psychological plane it corresponds to the Self, never resuscitated in the West since slain by the logic of Hume. This Self is not a bundle of fleeting perceptions. Rather is it the changeless backdrop for the mental flow we term the ego. The concept of the Self, in Eastern psychology, is analogous to the role played by the Absolute in religious metaphysics. In fact, it is basic to those psychological techniques whose aim is self-conscious awareness at deeper levels of consciousness.
Inseparably wedded as the Self and ego during a manvantara are the Abso-
lute and Relative. Everlastingly will prakriti be periodically outbreathed and inbreathed in those rhythmical pulsations we call eternities. And in this sense nature - the expression of the three gunas in disequilibruim - is as immortal as absolute Be-ness.
The Absolute Parabrahm and the Relative Iswara are really coexistent. The one is God the unknowable, the changeless, the transcendent. The other is God the knowable, the changing, the immanent.
It is interesting to recall in this connection that the philosophical imagination of Parmenides, schooled in Pythagorean thought, was inspired to express in a long poem the reality of the first "One". The mind of Heraclitus, * on the other hand, was not oblivious to the reality of the second "One".
[* Heraclitus identified Deity with motion, or the cosmic process of Becoming.]
In the image of the immutable sphere Parmenides, father of Greek and modern atomism, pictorially represented the unknowable of theosophy's first fundamental. His paradoxical remark - that nothing comes into being and nothing passes away - relates to this One that defies the language of description to convey its nature.
Heraclitus, his famous opposite, or rather complement, was impressed with the unceasing succession of appearances which is characteristic of relative conditioned existence. His homely observation, universally applicable, that no one steps into the same river twice, has served to typify, down through the ages, duration's endless flow in this relative world wherein names and forms and opposites abound.
If we are governed by the principle of relativity, or maya (though rooted in Be-ness), then no Bible be it ever so ancient, no philosopher be he ever so profound, no saint be he ever so holy is absolutely authoritative or infallible. Perhaps it is a recognition of this fact that has led certain East Indian thinkers to declare that God has never incarnated.
As most modernist Christians are well aware, the historical Jesus, notwithstanding his high spiritual status, was still a child of his age and therefore subject in a measure to its cultural limitations. Such a view is naturally shocking to fundamentalist Christians for whom Jesus was God incarnate. And if all accounts are true Buddha himself, the light of Asia, did not succeed in liberating his thought completely from current prejudices and binding traditions. He consented reluctantly, and only after much persuasive argument on the part of his favorite disciple Ananda, to the admission of women into the Buddhist order. And many a Mahayana Buddhist has prayed, out of the abundance both of his compassion and his superstition, that women in their next incarnation might be born as men! * [* Jesus' divine consciousness instinctively repudiated the superstition of woman's inferiority. Some of his closest friends and confidantes were women. Baha'U' LLah, the prophet-teacher of that modern religious group known as Bahais approaches Christ's position on the woman question and may even be said to surpass it.]
That absolute moral or spiritual perfection is unattainable in finite conditioned existence does not mean that ethical guidance is denied us or that spiritual knowledge does not exist. It only means that we cannot dogmatise for, as the Gita affirms, there are many paths to the One.
Certainly, those honest skeptics who question the possibility of achieving an absolutely self-consistent body of
rational knowledge find indirect support for their doubt in the first fundamental. Our philosophically minded physicists; who have painstakingly sought truth by the objective method of experiment and analysis, admit that they have been frustrated in their effort to rationalize the universe. The latter has revealed itself as basically contradictory and inexplicable by any single principle that the most igenious logic can devise. Although science has been able to formulate certain general principles - like gravitation, cohesion, communication of motion by impulse, etc. - to describe distinct series of phenomena, no one has been able to discover the ultimate causes of these principles or decipher the mystery of their functioning. The movement of bodily parts in instantaneous response to the behest of the will is a manifestation of power as inexplicable as those other scientific conundrums. The rationale of the most commonplace events and processes is as unknowable as Parabrahm.
In the Kena Upanishad we are told that it is by the power of the Self that the mind thinks, the body lives, the tongue speaks, the eye knows color and the ear sound. And this is perhaps all we shall ever know as intellectual beings. Surrounding us on all sides is the ring-pass-not.
So the relative world that has proceeded from our Father-Mother God, Iswara, is inaccessible to the curious and enquiring intelligence of man, in its secret depths, because the unattainable absolute has set its seal upon it.
Nature's sphinx-like inscrutability silences our questionings and calls us instead to worship and to prayer. In muted speech it persuades us to prize the "voice of the silence" above all sciences and metaphysics; to hearken earnestly to the wisdom of the illumined sages, those elder brothers of the race, who have walked the narrow way of the razor's edge in advance, in order that we might follow and be unafraid, in due season.
- Alberta Jean Rowell
In times of great general stress, it is natural for people to crave "something more practical" in the way of help, than what may seem to them the rather theoretical doctrines of Theosophy. In calmer moments, the great ideas of self-created destiny through successive lives, of dependable Law adjusting all things in due course, seem very interesting and comforting. But when one finds himself in trouble right now, he "wants out" right now, and seldom by any means that involve deep study or painful self-examination. Theosophy being unable to tell a man whether he will go bankrupt, or give any advice for dodging a bomb, that is not to be found more adequately presented by those whose "present duty" lies with such things, he is apt to stay home from meetings because he is "too much worried to bother with philosophy now," or lays aside the Ocean or Secret Doctrine because his mind is "too unsettled" to deal with anything but bad news on the radio, or perhaps light fiction or the comics as an escape.
True, the philosophy is illuminating as to how we got into this mess; "but how do we get out?"
We may as well face the facts. There are some to whom Theosophy is all that is needed for courage. They are few, and it will be a long time before the masses resort to it in time of stress as they now resort to the church, to the reassurances of political leaders, or to their own material energies in fending for themselves on a "dog eat dog" basis.
Men do not evolve spiritually in a simultaneous way. They evolve one by one. If the masses were able to assimilate Theosophy and remember to apply (Continued on Page 179)
NOTES BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
There seems to be some misunderstanding on the part of many of our members in regard to the distribution of the magazine. But the system is quite simple. All members are entitled to a copy each month having paid for it in their Annual Dues. If a member however, is in arrears for six months he is automatically removed from the Mailing List, but if he puts himself in good-standing before the end of the financial year viz. the 30th of June, magazines for the months which he has missed will be mailed to him.
It is with extreme regret I announce the demise of Mr. Nathaniel W.J. Haydon a most valued and faithful member who passed away on December 12th after a long illness. Mr. Haydon joined the Society in 1896 and during the years gave unremittingly of his time and labor to the furtherance of the Cause. For many years he held office in the Toronto Lodge of which at one time he was president. At the time of his death he was a member of the General Executive of the Theosophical Society in Canada where his wisdom and breadth of vision was of inestimable benefit in its councils. His loss is deeply felt and our sympathy and condolences are extended to Mrs. Haydon and family.
I am happy to welcome into the Society a new member in the person of Mrs. Edith J. Harris who has joined the St. Thomas Lodge.
At the beginning of another year when the world is jittery with wars and rumors of war, I join with all Theosophists wherever they be, in the fervent wish that 1951 will see the dawn of a new era in which the Dove of Peace will descend as the harbinger of Happiness, Love and Brotherhood among Men. - E. L. T.
H. P. BLAVATSKY, COLLECTED WRITINGS 1883
The majority of the readers of this magazine are already familiar with details of the contents of this momentous book. A copy has now been received and we hasten to offer sincere congratulations and thanks to the compiler, Mr. Boris de Zirkoff, and to the publishers, The Philosophical Research Society Inc. of Los Angeles. The book from its preface to its copious index reveals the magnitude of the work involved in the great undertaking of publishing in this and its proposed companion volumes, the entire literary output of H.P.B.
The work was begun by Mr. Zirkoff in 1924 and over the years many hitherto unknown writings of H.P.B. were discovered. On the jacket it is stated that "With very few exceptions, the text has been transcribed from the original sources, and stands unaltered and unedited, with all the peculiarities of style and punctuation unchanged. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Quotations have been verified and checked with the originals as far as it was possible to do so."
The present volume of 416 pages is excellently printed and is well bound in a dark blue cloth cover with gold lettering. The historical and biographical notes and the chronological tables have been carefully compiled and are a valuable addition to H.P.B.'s writings.
How fitting it is that this book has been issued in the 75th Anniversary year of the Theosophical Movement. Let us hope that it augurs for the coming years a return to the original teachings which H.P.B. brought and a relinquishing of the lesser presentations which have engrossed the attention of so many Theosophical students. Again, many thanks.
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.
We heartily and thankfully welcome a new contemporary, Theosophical Notes. This magazine, if it lives up to the promise of its initial number will become a very important factor in the world of Theosophical thought during the coming quarter century. It is published anonymously and communications are to be addressed to it c/o General Delivery, Berkeley, California. This first issue is multigraphed but, "its form for the present is experimental; whether or not it will be made into a conventionally printed - but not conventionally written - periodical with a subscription rate, depends upon the response." The opening editorial states that "Notes is an attempt to apply the Theosophy of H.P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge and Robert Crosbie to current problems of Theosophical thought in an especially direct and contemporary way." The articles are well written with a refreshing newness of expression; the author or authors are students of the Secret Doctrine Literature and, throughout, the importance of these teachings is emphasized. The magazine is to serve the Theosophical Movement, not to support any particular Theosophical organization or leader. This effort should receive the support of students everywhere and we trust that the Canadian Lodges will write to the above address for sample copies. Two items from this new journal are being reprinted in this issue.
The Indian Theosophist for October reports that the Indian Section Council passed a resolution supporting Mr. Jinarajadasa's stand on the `Dissociation Policy' and also reports the resolutions passed by various Indian Lodges also supporting this policy. The New Delhi Lodge resolution reads, "That the Theosophical Lodge, New Delhi, offers its whole-hearted support to the resolution of the General Council of the Theosophical Society passed at its meeting at Banaras in December 1949 regarding the Society's neutrality with regard to all movements and organizations, run
either by Theosophists or other groups of idealists. It is firmly of the opinion that while the Theosophical Society may cooperate with all movements that work for Brotherhood in different spheres of life, it cannot identify itself with any such movement or organization, however noble be its aims and objects, for such an identification will mean the narrowing down of Brotherhood and therefore a curtailment of freedom of thought and action which the Theosophical Society guarantees to all its members. The Theosophical Lodge, New Delhi, is convinced that only as the Society maintains a policy of strict but benevolent neutrality towards other movements and organizations that this freedom of the individual can remain secure against all encroachments . . . ."
Mr. James S. Perkins, National President of the Theosophical Society in America, left the United States on December 11th to attend the International Convention of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, India, Dec. 25th-31st. Mr. Norman Pearson, Vice-President of the American Society will leave in March to attend the School of the Wisdom at Adyar, an activity which now attracts Theosophical workers from many lands.
The Assumption of the Virgin is now an established dogma of the Catholic Church, a dogma which requires the faithful to believe - but not to understand how a woman who lived nineteen hundred and fifty years ago was transported in her fleshly body to heaven, where she now resides. If it took nearly two thousand years to arrive at this very carnal belief, how many more thousands must elapse before the esoteric symbolism is understood - the spiritualizing or `heavenizing' of matter, the ever virgin mother of all forms.
N. W. J. HAYDON
The Theosophical cause lost one of its faithful servants in the death of Mr. N.W.J. Haydon on Tuesday, December 12th, after an illness which confined him to bed for several months. The keynote of his life was loyalty to two movements to which he gave years of service, the Theosophical Society and Masonry.
Mr. Haydon was born in Newton Abbott, Devonshire, in 1871 and was the son of Dr. N.T.J. Haydon. He left England in 1889 and went to the United States where he travelled and engaged in several pursuits before settling in Massachusetts. In 1895 he made his first direct contact with Theosophical teachings as a result of reading a small placard which had been nailed to a fence by some Theosophical student and which contained the first four Rules from Light on the Path. His companions ridiculed the message but Mr. Haydon recognized the profound implications of the words and sought out those who had posted them. As a result, he joined the Lowell Lodge in 1896. He left Boston and came to Toronto in 1901 where he joined the Toronto Lodge, remaining a member here until his death.
His work of buying and selling books brought him in touch with Theosophical students all over the world. Mr. Haydon had an extraordinary memory for books, titles, authors, editions and publishers and if he were given the task of finding some rare volume, he persisted in the search until it was either found or was discovered to be not procurable at the time. Through this work many friendships were formed with students in distant lands.
Mr. Haydon's Masonic interests were deep and were linked with his background of Theosophical thought. He was a member of Riverdale and of University Lodges, A.F. & A.M. and of the
University Chapter, R.A.M. He was Librarian for the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario and was active in the Masonic Research Society. Mr. Haydon was a member of the General Executive of the Theosophical Society in Canada and was President of the Toronto Lodge during his fiftieth year of membership in the Society. He vas Vice-President in former years and was a member of the Toronto Lodge Executive and of the Library Board.
A Masonic service in his memory was held on Wednesday, December 13th, and on the following day, a Theosophical service was conducted by Mr. G.I. Kinman, President of Toronto Lodge; the committal service at the Crematorium in the chapel of St. James the Lesser, was read by Mr. D.W. Barr.
His kindly presence will be missed by all those who knew him personally and those many friends who knew him only through correspondence will learn with regret of the passing of an old and always helpful fellow student. Our sincere sympathy is extended to Mrs. Haydon and to Mrs. Florence Cheshire of Frazerville, Ont., an only daughter.
One sense a peculiar something, like a triumphant jubilation, among the Catholic hierarchy during this year; more perhaps, than accountable for by the calendar occasion itself. In fact, the power of the church was never more promising. It has successfully capitalized on the persecutions in Soviet countries; it has immensely bettered its public relations, ridden the wave of `religious tolerance' which was a backwash from Naziism and Communism, much to its own advantage; and by various arts from persuasion to boycott, has closed most of the public press to articles unfavorable to Catholicism. Beyond that, we have some strong indications that it considers Theosophy (always regarded as a serious menace countered by "brushing off" as a minor movement) to have been "contained" at last, in spite of the unwelcome and unexpected revivification by Robert Crosbie.
In other words that it has been successfully immobilized like its predecessors, through attrition by time and human nature, by diversions and perversions of the Teachings in some cases, by using them as a shield for personal authority and personal motives in others, by divisions and rancor between associations and individuals within associations, and by strandings on the "sandbanks of utilitarian efforts" warned against by H.P.B. Some members of the Church are more acutely aware of the importance of 1975 than most Theosophists; the latter tend too much to think in terms of the survival of specific Theosophical bodies as essential to the success of the Mission of '75, forgetting that it is the maintenance of the lines laid down that counts, even though only by two or three. Too much attention paid to institutions is precisely the thing that can cause us to forget the real issue; and unless Theosophists do better than hitherto, in this and some other ways, they may wake up one day to find that the Church guessed rightly. No amount of loyalty to contemporary institutions or persons can carry through a work to survival as an agency of the Great Purpose save through the Theosophy, in practice as well as precept, of H.P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge.
- From Theosophical Notes.
Pure divine love is not merely the blossom of a human heart but has its roots in eternity. Love beyond the grave has a magic and divine potency which reacts upon the living. Love is a strong shield and is not limited by time or space." - H. P. B.
THEOSOPHY IN ACTION
By Roy Mitchell
I have spoken of intellect as the reward of courage and as a finely wrought tool for the evocation of spirituality. Of what sort will spirituality be when we evoke it and how will it show itself?
Of a certainty, because it is life itself and in its very name the play of breath, spirituality will not be something we have never had. It may easily, however, be something we have never had enough of. It must be a current, an energy. It cannot be what we call Buddhi, because Buddhi is matter of subtle grade, and is on the form side of our world. Neither is Buddhi to be conceived as something within us as our charts are compelled to show it, but as something outside of us, a subtle body which we share with all mankind, and in which we as individuals are atoms, as the animal cells are atoms in us.
Spirituality, then, must represent a process by which the Divine Energy, which we are, breaks its bounds of the individual man, to play in the growing tendrils with which we contact those around us. Our means of increasing it will be to multiply and vivify our ties with mankind and, having thus enlarged our sense of a body of communion, we shall permit a fuller flow of the Spirit. Or, to say it another way, having increased our efflux, we shall have increased our influx from our own Indwelling God.
It is implicit in all religions that no one can increase spirituality in himself to himself, but only in himself for another. It would seem to live in the nexus between him and a second person, in a mesh, as it were, of that great body which is of the whole race. In each added link with the rest of mankind the mesh grows, and with it the flow of spirituality. It is never in men, but between men. "For," says Jesus, speaking in his Buddhic office, "when two or three of you are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst."
We are prone to think of it as something in us which we can give, or refuse to give. No. It is something common to us all and we vitalize it by finding common ground with men. In the measure therefore that we fashion mind into a delicate instrument for the discernment of the things common to us and those about us, instead of occupying ourselves with differences; in the measure that we can make thought a quest of what we share and not of the things upon which we quarrel - in precisely that measure do we enlarge the body in which Atma can play.
So because an energy can only be answered by an energy it will come to pass that the play of spirit along the tendril of our contact will elicit a measure of spiritual flow in the one who has been contacted. This is the key to that spiritualized brooding of the Masters which is their most potent service to mankind. It is the clue also to the curious swirl or vortex we make among those around us when spirituality flows through us. We are not merely filling our own bodies with light but activating the spiritual bodies of all we contact.
Some may at first take it ill, but that will not matter. We can make our link with the highest in another and stir his Buddhic nature, and because his mind is not attuned to identities but to disparities he may repudiate the bond. He may become frantic in his denial of the contact, and if the swirl be great enough he may crucify the very man who has roused him. Or, having recognized the swirl for a time, a pall may descend upon him, a pall of his karma, an old habit of letting his mind feed his pas-
sional nature with differences. What shall I say of my brother if, having shown zest and enthusiasm with me because of That in the Midst, he become opposed to me? That he is wrong? Shall I too feed my passional nature with differences that will destroy the tendril between us, or upon our communities that will strengthen it? Shall I too draw down my blind of the spirit and fight him in the dark? Or shall I strive harder than ever to keep the bond, knowing that when my blind is down he will in his turn do the like for me? And he will. If I stay his brother in Buddhi the time must come when he will stay mine. The Masters play constantly at such a one-sided brotherhood.
We can posit it then of spirituality that it will live in community and die in separation; it will continue to flow when there is only one conscious party to it, that it is fluent, of the nature of life itself, and that by the training of the mind to the creation of images of similarity we can evoke and radiate it. How then Will it show itself?
First of all in a sense of abundance, because it is of its very nature an overflowing beyond separate entity - an enlargement of the ramifications of life and a flow of life into the enlarged network. Conversely it will show itself in the generosity which must arise out of realization that the current thus made to flow is as inexhaustible as the God Itself; that there is more force where the last came from and that the pouring out of whatever we have to give - of ideas, of good will, of material aid, of commendation, of precedence to others, of acknowledgment of benefits, of the energy that goes into work - will not beggar but enrich us as enriching that widening vehicle in which we learn more and more to focus life.
Spirituality will show itself also in a widened sense of apace and time that will save its custodian from little flurries of immediacy and urgency, of righteous indignation, of feeling that the time has come to do something, or that it will soon be too late to do something else, the little precipitancies of life that betray us into treachery, meanness and sharp practice.
It will show itself in a deep unwillingness to break ties when once they are made - even in order to make new ties. That the man who cuts tendrils once formed is mutilating his body of the spirit as surely as he would mutilate his body of the flesh if he cut off fingers. Not figuratively. Literally. It is a great light to us the day we find how many of our weaknesses and inhibitions are the direct result of broken courses of the spirit.
It will show itself in a growing realization that these tendrils of spirit are the enduring things in the world and they must remain when all else passes. They are our fruit at the end of life and our seed at the gate of birth.
Spirituality will also, I think, show itself as gaiety and high spirits, as the ability to make and take laughter. Every religious quest, including our own, has suffered at the hands of its humourless saints who have not learned that truth can be conveyed from man to man in a whimsy, in the odd consorting of incongruous ideas, in reductions to absurdity, long after precise speech has failed to convey it. That higher than induction and deduction is analogy and a jeu d'esprit derives its life from analogy. The one thing hatred, fear, anger and malice and the enclosing passions cannot survive is laughter.
It will mean a great deal to us in our lodges if we can wrest this idea of spirituality clear of its later Christian ideas of austerity and piety, which are virtues of the separate man, and learn to identify it rather with the relations of one man with another. If we can think of
it as zest, light-heartedness and vitality in personal contacts, more in a handshake than in a speech, as the ability to take adversity with a smile, the willingness to let things go by default, the willingness also to give odds, knowing there is more virtue in the effort than in the result, the instinct to proceed more upon bona fides than upon charters, constitutions, by-laws, resolutions and votes, and a confidence in the healing power of time, we will do vastly more for the world for which our Society exists.
Spirituality is the only true entrance to esotericism. Two persons who work together and are so bound can hold a closed meeting in the midst of a multitude. I sometimes think we hold no really closed meetings at all, but these communions of effort, endurance and sympathy. The others are merely symbols of something we must bring to pass.
(Next month - Rhythm.)
FURTHER COMMENTS ON IMMORTALITY AS IN THE
The Vancouver member has certainly done us a great service in producing his challenging quotation from an article by H.P.B. of January 1886. On the other hand, it is surprising to read that "it appeared to controvert the main conclusion arrived at" in my article "Immortality as in the Esoteric Tradition." Let us briefly consider what would be necessary to even "appear" to controvert my, or any other, conclusion as to the philosophy of Theosophy.
In the Mah. Ltrs., p. 29, we read, "Only the progress one makes in the study of Arcane knowledge from its rudimental elements, brings him gradually to understand our meaning. Only thus, and not otherwise, does it, strengthening and refining those mysterious links of sympathy between intelligent men - the temporarily isolated fragments of the universal Soul and the cosmic Soul itself - bring them into full rapport." Since the publication of the Secret Doctrine, those rudimental elements have been known to us as the Three Fundamental Propositions, and the Commentary thereon by H.P.B. in the Proem of her great work, for she states on p. 13 of the Proem, these basic ideas are few in number, and on their clear apprehension depends the understanding of all that follows."
Therefore, in order to "appear" to controvert a given Theosophical understanding, one should first show that the controverting view is consistent with the Proem, else the "controverting" need carry no weight with anyone who is seeking gradually to "understand (Their) meaning". A quotation from H.P.B. is not yet a view; the quotation is at first only printer's ink and paper, and then is subject to the different interpretations of various readers. If we hold with William Blake that it is possible "to see a world in a grain of sand," that is because the perceiver has already seen a world. Neither the grain of sand, nor that which was quoted, comes singly. The test of consistency requires a comparison. Or as stated in the Mah. Ltrs., p. 241, "Believe me, there comes a moment in the life of an adept, when the hardships he has passed through are a thousandfold rewarded. In order to acquire further knowledge, he has no more to go through a minute and slow investigation and comparison of various objects, but is accorded an instantaneous, implicit insight into every first truth . . , " The intermediate technique is called dialectics in a passage of H.P.B.'s article, "What is Theosophy": "Plotinus, the pupil of the 'God-taught' Ammonius, tells us, that the secret gnosis or the knowledge of Theosophy, has three degrees - opinion, science and illumination. `The means or instrument of the first is sense, or per-
ception; of the second, dialectics; of the third, intuition.' " To further show the insufficiency of the single quotation, we can point out in H.P.B.'s Voice of the Silence: "The seeds of Wisdom cannot sprout and grow in airless space. To live and reap experience, the mind needs breadth and depth and points to draw it towards the Diamond Soul."
The Vancouver member has only provided a single "point", and it is not possible to "stand' upon that. Hence so far there has been no evidence that the extract even "appeared" to controvert the main conclusion of my article.
But in consideration of the kind invitation for me to comment, I am happy to avail myself of this opportunity to point out some of those other "points", use my capacity (weak as it is) of "dialectics", and thereby fulfill to only a limited extent the requirement of "investigation and comparison".
We assume at the outset that H.P.B. meant something that was consistent with the fundamental principles of the Secret Doctrine. Indeed, it was stated at the very end of the passage that the full details were being left for that forthcoming work. One of the most formidable difficulties experienced during the early period of the Theosophical movement was the matter of suitable terminology. Persons unsympathetic with these difficulties charged that H.P.B. later gave out teachings contradictory to those in her work Isis Unveiled. The Secret Doctrine itself represents the culminating point of the effort to render into the English language, through the mind and body of a European, the esoteric teachings. This is not to say that the S.D. was completely succesful and always consistent in terminology, as the English language itself made that impossible - but it is our highest standard in this regard. It is the understanding of the student ,which is needed to smooth out the details; the "light must come from within". First he reads the lines, and then between the lines.
With this in mind, let us consider H.P.B.'s use of the terms "Maha-Manvantara", "night of Brahma", and "Universal Pralaya", in the passage under Consideration. Is she here using them with the same meaning as given to them in the S.D. published in 1888? It could be the case that she is, but then again, not necessarily so. But H.P.B. must have changed her usage of these terms by the time the S.D. was published. This is demonstrated as follows. H.P.B. said she would give the details in the S.D. On p. 13 of the Proem she writes, "Moreover the Teachers say openly that not even the highest Dhyani-Chohans have ever penetrated the mysteries beyond those boundaries, that separate the milliards of Solar systems from the `Central Sun,' as it is called. Therefore - that which is given, relates only to our visible Kosmos, after a `Night of Brahma'." Therefore, when H.P.B. writes, "the same individual Divine Monad resumes its majestic path of evolution.", she cannot mean a "same" Monad from a preceding Maha-Manvantara (in the usage of the S.D.) because then she would be giving details she says she is not going to give, and speaking of a period which even the highest Dhyani-Chohans have not penetrated with individual experience. As H.P.B. says later in the S.D. (I, 369), "Not even Esoteric philosophy can claim to know, except by analogical inference, that which took place before the reappearance of our Solar System and previous to the last Maha Pralaya." Now, if there were an entity present which was carrying with it "the essence of compound spiritualities from its previous countless rebirths" (and some of those rebirths were in the last Maha-Manvantara), this entity could dispel our ignorance concerning that former
great period by reason of carrying with it that individual continuity, and hence memory. But there is no such entity, else Esoteric philosophy would not be forced to rely upon "analogical inference" for that period, as H.P.B. informs us. This shows that by the expression "the same individual Divine Monad", H.P.B. is merely referring to a situation contained within our own Maha-Manvantara (as the term is used in the S. D.).
It follows that the passage quoted by the Vancouver member does not appear to controvert my main conclusion.
- Alex Wayman.
"SOMETHING PRACTICAL" (Continued from Page 170)
it when most needed, we wouldn't need it at all in this sense, because we would have avoided creating the causes that put us where we are. Many see this but do not see that learning the right lessons so deeply that they will not be forgotten in the future, is as important as anything that can happen to us. If parents suffering over the possible fate of their sons at war do not learn by the experience such compassion for other mothers and their sons that they will never, under any conditions, again allow themselves the kind of thoughts that are the unseen breeders of war, then the lesson is missed, and is transformed into suffering that is, for the present, useless.
That we do have to suffer in this or any other way, means that we still have not learned the real lesson, however superior to the enemy breed in wisdom and compassion we may think ourselves.
It is well known to Theosophists that the whole of human evolution is a series of initiations, which serve the double purpose of enlightening the candidate and of allowing the unseen educators of mankind to determine his fitness for further knowledge and power. National tragedies as well as individual tragedies are such initiations. They weed out the unfit by presenting them with the opportunity to know themselves and others. The division between the Eye Doctrine and the Heart Doctrine is always in the world, and only severe stress will show a man or his friends which path he is actually following. Much book knowledge, pat and memorized repetition of Theosophical truisms, or even facilely warm feelings and a smile for the stranger, will not mark the division. The test is whether, when assailed by apprehension, grief and hate and fear and horror, he can still see through the temptation to cast aside his assumed basis of "metaphysical" thought, to think and feel as others do, to solve the "practical problems" first and let "philosophy" wait. The test as to whether one is nearing the Mahatmas consists largely in whether he can see that these "practical problems" never will and never can be solved without "philosophy;" that no digging in from harm, no victory at arms, no economic schemes or devices, will in themselves stop or stay karma in the least except at the cost of greater woes to come.
No part of the human race can long even remain in existence save through the presence in it of the understanding that man is not a body but an eternal being with an eternal destiny continuously self-woven by his own acts and feelings. Everything that makes men human, springs unseen from that perception, even though fully maintained by a handful only. The principle of the "three just men" who may save a city, is still good; but let the last of these pass away, and upon the unfortunate land will fall lasting darkness and great tragedy, even though it have its iron heel upon the prostrate neck of the whole world. For - material things are fed and maintained from a spiritual substratum, never the reverse. To see this as a living truth, and to live by it with some degree of success, constitutes a major "initiation" and one obtained by few. - From Theosophical Notes.
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.