Divine Wisdom Brotherhood Occult Science
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Vol. XXXI, No. 3 Toronto, May 15th, 1950 Price 20 Cents
THE GREATNESS OF THE MESSAGE
When Theosophists assemble on White Lotus Day, May 8th, they do so to pay honor and tribute to the memory of the one who brought the Message of Theosophy to the West. H.P.B.'s worn-out body was cremated in London, England, on May 11th, 1891, fifty-nine years ago, and it is an indication of her greatness that today the interest in her writings is steadily growing. That interest is not confined to the members of the various Theosophical Societies - in H.P.B.'s day there was but one Society - many thousands of persons who are not affiliated with any Society are students of Theosophy. The Theosophical Movement has its members in the several Theosophical Societies, in various other occult groups, in universities, among the professions, the arts and the crafts. Solitary students on farms, in country schools, in fishing villages, in mining and lumbering towns, all form part of the invisible organism known as the Theosophical Movement; no matter how isolated a student may be from other students, or how meagre are his opportunities to discuss with others the subject closest to his heart, this solitary study work is not sterile - in the universal economy all such efforts are contributory to the Theosophical work. Other lives may bring such students into the busy whirl of more public work when time for reading and studying may be limited and when they must be able to draw upon the assimilations of past efforts.
H.P.B. is honored on White Lotus Day not because she was a most unusual woman, a woman who dared to be different in an age when conformity was socially imperative, who possessed rare psychic powers, whose writings and conversations indicated a familiarity with the then hardly heard of world of the occult. Her memory is honored because of her devotion and service to Theosophy, and to her, Theosophy was all important. Whether she lived or died, whether the world held her in high esteem or in contempt, was of no consequence. The Message was the only thing that mattered.
What was the essence of that Message? Briefly it was this, that man is divine, that he, in common with all other beings, is in his innermost nature at one with the One Life of the Universe. His divine nature is not con-
ferred upon him by an outside power; he does not become divine by growth or by experience or by any outer event; he is divine by his very nature. He is not merely a creature of God, he is not merely a spark of the flame - such expressions and others similar to these are but symbols - he is the flame, he is the God. The great cycles of Life are part of his Being; the law of Karma is a law of his own nature; the process of reincarnation is a method of his own organism. He is the creator of his own destiny.
What a message to bring to present-day humanity, to the diseased, weak, mean, evil, shallow, selfish, limited, psychologically warped and twisted race of today. An almost incredible message, but, nevertheless, one that has always been the keynote of the spiritual pioneers of humanity. "Know ye not that ye are gods?" said the Founder of Christianity; Socrates taught the doctrine of reminiscence, of remembering one's true, inner nature. Mankind's salvation does not consist of being `saved' by belief in an exterior Saviour but in awakening to a remembrance of true being. The great saying of the Vedanta is, "Arise thou effulgent one, arise thou who art always pure, arise and manifest thy true nature - these little manifestations do not become thee!"
It would be too much to hope that the Message of Theosophy will, in the first one hundred years of the Theosophical Movement, meet with any universal acceptance. Its influence has spread among some thousands of men and women in all lands, but hundreds of millions are not touched by it. However, there is the assurance that its effects are cumulative and generate a chain-reaction; that as one person after another comes into the Movement and gains some understanding of the essential doctrines, they tend to become centres of radiation - to the degree that their attitude towards life is governed by the teachings, they do exert a theosophising influence on others. Many students will have personal knowledge of examples of this; fellow workers in factories, trades, offices and professions may look upon a Theosophist as a bit queer, but in emergencies and in times of decision his opinions may be listened to carefully. The breadth and tolerance of his attitude, his understanding of Karmic action in human affairs should give him a more inclusive and fundamentally sound approach to human problems.
Each of us, therefore, carry a responsibility that the greatness of the Message shall not be diminished for others by any personal idiosyncrasies of our little personalities. The Society does not impose any code of conduct on its members, but every Theosophist by joining the Movement and by accepting the first principle of Universal Brotherhood, voluntarily assumes certain obligations of which the `still, small voice within' is the sole arbitrator. The manifestation of the ethics of the Theosophical approach in all contacts with others can exert a deep influence, might even indicate to some other person a doorway into a realm which he or she did not know existed.
The Message of Theosophy is a call to the innermost being of man to remember his high estate and true nature. The Message alone is great and because of its quality it can arouse greatness, provided that those who pass it on do not distort its essential purity.
- D. W. B.
"Through joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, the soul comes to a knowledge of itself; then begins the task of learning the laws of life, that the discords may be resolved, and the harmony be restored." - Lucifer, Sept., 1887.
A DEFENCE OF KAMA
By Alberta Jean Rowell
Unfortunately, the "desire" or "feeling" principle in man, termed kama in the Sanscrit, has been harshly berated and roundly trounced, and hardly ever praised by students of occult literature. This is so because it has been identified exclusively with the lower appetites and passions such as lust, envy and greed. That this same principle is Janus-faced, and therefore capable of gravitating heavenward as well as earthward, is a fact scarcely acknowledged.
Certainly, we have no justification for a one-sided view of kama either in the Blavatsky writings or in ancient Hindu scriptures. In the Secret Doctrine the principle of kama is assigned a significant value as the "bridge between Atma and manas". In the Glossary it is plainly stated that the concept of kama, formerly of divine import and nobly beautiful, has been grossly materialized through the ages as "the Dower that gratifies desire on the animal plane". Divine kama, at Opposite pole to carnal desire, is defined by H.P.B. as "the first conscious all-embracing desire for universal good, love, and for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness; the first feeling of infinite tender compassion and mercy that arose in the consciousness of the creative One Force . . . . . "
The kamic energy of the creative Logos, whose magic projected the cosmic phantasy, may be assimilated to the force of love. Madame Blavatsky reminds us, in the Secret Doctrine, that Kamadeva of the Puranas is the god of desire and love. And when we discover in the Atharva Veda (quoted by H.P.B.) that kama or love is equated with the Supreme God we perceive the Vedic seer's fundamental agreement with the Biblical maxim: that God is Love and that he "that loveth not, knoweth not God". Asserting the same truth in more vivid and concrete terms the Vedic sage (as quoted by H.P.B.) declared: "Kama was born first, Him, neither gods, nor fathers, nor men have equalled - born from the heart of Brahma."
On the testimony of such ancient scriptures are we not justified in assuming that priority of the "feeling" principle in its higher aspect? The finer affections and emotions then, like tenderness, compassion and spiritual love, are passional expressions of which we need not be ashamed. The predisposition of certain minds to understand but not condemn, to take both the righteous man and the rascal in their stride like the sunshine, the wind and the rain; the impulse to defend the underdog; the unwillingness to inflict pain upon another, extended even to those little natural pariahs like bats and mice; * [* The inimitable "Bobbie" Burns towered head and shoulders above ordinary men because of his deep and exquisite sensibilities and universal sympathy. It was his poetic mission to celebrate the brotherhood of life. Who, after reading his poem, "To a Mouse" sympathetically, could find it in his heart to set a trap for that lowly miscreant? D.H. Lawrence's poem, "The Man and the Bat", likewise instils in the reader a sense of kinship with that wonderful but terrifying little creature, half mammal and half bird, to whose skill in blind flying the science of radar owes so much.] the instinctive love of fair-play that forbids doing to another what one would not have done to oneself - are surely
evidences of a kamic principle functioning on the higher levels.
Without sensitivity and emotional depth, and the imaginative sympathy that stems from these, how can the fact of brotherhood be realized? Without a kamic nature developed in the more elevated reaches how can a man know spiritual rebirth and enter upon the state of consciousness we call "eternal life"; for it is kama, in its pure pristine sense that is the silver cord that binds the disciple to Krishna, the indwelling Lord.
Yielding to the surge of divine kama many a loving master has felt urged to renounce the pearl of great price, when on the threshold of divinity, in order to teach the way of salvation to a laggard humanity, helplessly bound upon the wheel fo change. Such a lover was the Tibetan lama in Kipling's Kim. Though his soul revelled in an ocean of nirvanic bliss, that climaxed years of anxious seeking, he was peremptorily recalled to his body by the memory of his little disciple who had need of him.
But animal kama no more than divine kama, that inspires the sages to deeds of mercy, is a product of the flesh, according to Eastern psychologists. For Kama is an animating principle of the physical body, the prime mover of will * and the basic substance of intellection - all thought being rationalized feeling in the ultimate analysis. And it is the human ego's unquenched thirst for the wine of life that leads to recurrent embodiments, after each devachanic period of assimilation and rest. [* Just as the fohatic will or cosmic desire differentiates the homogeneous one Life into centres of energy, thus bringing into manifestation the myriad forms of life, so the adept projecting the force of strong desire on the virgin akasa can bring into objective reality the ideal situation he visualizes.]
Just as reincarnation would be impossible without the kamic urge, so would the creative activity of the First Cause, and the evolution of worlds, be less than dreams without it. For the cosmic serpent of desire lifts its head at the beginning of every marivantaric cycle and churns with its lashing tail the bosom of the seeming void. Thus the elements of fire, water, earth and air appear and all the countless creatures of the land and sea in their hour. And all the minute hidden "lives", that charge the forms of elements and creatures alike, throb with the energy of the fiery god* who begot them, till life forsake them. [* H.P.B. points out in th S.D. that the Hindus identified kama with Agni, the fiery god.]
If in the cosmic scheme of creation kama plays a superlative role equally important is its function in the septenary constitution of man. There it occupies a balance position, like the horizon line between earth and sky. For kama, like all elements and principles of conditioned existence, is governed by the law of duality. Hence it may reflect the purity and universality of the spiritual soul or the baser instincts of the animal soul.
Theosophy has never minimized the dangers of yielding to the dark or demoniacal aspect of the kamic principle termed animal soul. But by conquering it through the power of higher mind the divine nature, otherwise latent, is brought into expression. For no entity, Madame Blavatsky explains in the Secret Doctrine, can achieve the "state of Nirvana or absolute purity" except through a knowledge of evil as well as good. And we acquire knowledge of evil, not by indulging our lower desires, but by wrestling with them, till the head of the material serpent is bruised.
This animal kama, the desire-energies
(Continued an Page 42)
THEOSOPHY IN ACTION
By Roy Mitchell
The preliminary step to any real efficiency on the part of a Theosophical unit must be an intimate realization of the meaning of the declared objects of the Society.
Let me restate them: (1) To form a nucleus for the universal brotherhood of mankind without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color; (2) To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science; (3) To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man.
As stated, they constitute a general description of the aims of the Society and a declaration to the world at large. Beneath this generalization they state the threefold means of all occult research - the trinity of essentials without which no Theosophical work can thrive. Neglecting any of them our work inevitably falls below the measure of balance and symmetry which entitles it to the name of Theosophy. I would beg my readers to remember that Theosophy is the highest and most inclusive word which we possess to describe the aspirations of man. All other words we use describe only parts of it. It is all the wisdom there is, and when we start in quest of it we are assuming something which will require all our powers.
The initial means in the quest is the pledge of Brotherhood, the first necessity in all white magic. It is not a sentimental consideration for the student of Theosophy. It is a stern and uncompromising fact, the denial of which is deadly peril. The whole fabric of true religion is based on it, occult instruction is only possible when one realizes the law, and instruction can continue only when one embodies the ideal of Brotherhood in his daily life. Denial of Brotherhood in thought or in act checks the vital currents in the body at once, insistence in the denial renders right-hand occultism impossible. The first practice of all occult students must be, as soon as they find their stream of force running low, to trace back to the immediate offence against Brotherhood which has checked the stream. Rarely is it further back than a day, often not more than a few minutes.
The second means is study in the field outside of us. The field designated in the phrase "comparative religion, philosophy and science," is so comprehensive as to include all the symbolic, written and oral traditions of human learning. The Theosophical requirement is that we shall study and that our study shall be comparative, not what is modernly known as comparative religion merely, but comparative philosophy, comparative science, the comparisons of religions with philosophies, of religions with sciences, of philosophies with sciences. It is in comparison that we get fertility. There can be no exoteric religion, philosophy or science in the world complete. Human handling will defile it within the first hour. But by comparison we can arrive at the completeness of which each is a part. In the article on Study I shall have more to say on this point. For the moment it will suffice us to remember that study by comparison is not optional with the Theosophist. It is an obligation put upon him because it is his source of supply of the elements needed to round out his knowledge of the God within as well as the God without. Living in the world as Theosophists are required to do, because Theosophy exists for the world and not for its devotees, comparative study is the means whereby he elicits intuitions.
The third is least understood of all, we have looked on it so often as providing for psychic research, the more phenomenal forms of yoga and recondite science. As a matter of fact it is a covering phrase for the third essential in Theosophical work - the process of testing for verity. It is the means whereby we discriminate between true and false in what we gather by our second means. Without this constant testing in ourselves and by examination of our own latent powers our study goes for naught. What is written in religion, philosophy and science can only have one value for us, its application to our problem of consciousness, and only by our own experience can we know if anything be true. No fact in the universe possesses the slightest value for us unless it is a statement for us in terms of a great cycle of a fact which is true in our smaller cycle. Theosophy which will not test within the cosmos of a man is no Theosophy at all, and by every warrant in the ancient tradition we are authorized to cast it out.
Thus we have in Theosophy three obligations - three because we are threefold, compounded of spirit, soul and lower self - and no Theosophist can be complete without using all three, the field, the aim, and the test. Neglecting any, he is less than a Theosophist, however fine he may be in every other regard. It is not a question of how high he stands. Our question is of balance and even development which alone can give us steadiness. Are we going then to make a Theosophical Society out of individuals who are, each of them, less than Theosophists? People try quite gravely to do so. They say, "I will devote myself to Brotherhood and to development of powers, and leave comparative study to the intellectual people"; or "I will devote myself to Brotherhood and comparative religion and leave tests to those more daring than I"; or some, most foolhardy of all, who say, "my interest is in study and latent powers. I shall leave sentimental considerations of Brotherhood to those who like them."
The means to Theosophical progress cannot be so delegated. Lacking Brotherhood the student cannot go beyond the Eye Doctrine. Lacking comparative study he will starve for the fragments of truth needed to evoke the powers of his soul. Lacking the third means of personal test he will have to rely upon the reputed vision of some other. He will read of hierarchies and logoi and great time cycles as if they mattered in themselves, or as if salvation lay through them instead of through his Divine Self. To such a one, "As above, so below," might as well never have been written.
The health of the Theosophical Society and its efficiency in the tremendous task that it has essayed will be the measure of its even development along these three lines, not development in the aggregate, but development in each individual. Neither the altitude of its thought nor the magnitude of its operations will matter so much. The Lords of Life can endow us with high thought if that would serve, and we only need to cheapen our method to get magnitude. Neither will serve. Adherence to the long-tested balance of our three objects has served before and will again.
(Next month, "Theory.")
BOOKS ON THEOSOPHICAL SUBJECTS which have passed the tests of time and use Supplied on request. Forty years' experience at your service. Let me know your wishes.
N. W. J. HAYDON, 564 PAPE AVE., TORONTO
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
It is with sincere regret that I find my Notes this month are confined solely to obituary notices. First of all I must mention that I omitted in my report on the death of Miss A. Morris last month to state that she was a Charter Member of the Hamilton Lodge, having joined the Society in 1916 and had been in the Study Group previous to that. I may add that the Canadian Theosophical Society had not then been formed and consequently Hamilton Lodge of which Miss Morris was a member was a lodge of the American Section. The month of April has indeed provided a rich harvest for the Grim Reaper; Toronto Lodge has lost two members, Edmonton two, Hamilton one and Vancouver one, six in all, thus making it the saddest month in my records. In Toronto Mr. F.H. Coombs and Mr. Bruce A. Page, both recently joined members, passed away; both were keen students and both were of a mature age and seemed to contact Theosophy as old souls wishing to renew and cement their kinship before again passing to the Great Beyond. In Edmonton Mr. Ralph Girard who joined in 1942 and Mrs. Madeleine Morrison who joined in 1944 both passed to a well deserved rest to the regret of all those who knew them. Hamilton Lodge has again lost another Charter Member, Mrs. Janet Inman in the same category as Miss Morris and who was in her 77th year, after passing a useful and meritorious life in the cause of her fellowbeings. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, she was domiciled in Hamilton since 1912 and was a distinctly public-spirited woman. Among her various activities she helped to found the Ontario Labor Party, and went to London on two occasions to discuss labor problems with Sir Adam Beck as well as to many labor conventions over a period of 30 years. She organized the Womens Consumers League and was very active in local welfare work, as well as being a faithful worker with the Red Cross for over 25 years. Always a keen Theosophist she was at one time President of the Hamilton Lodge. Thus passes a true and faithful servant who with the Teachings deep in her heart went amongst her kind sowing the seed, helping the needy and bringing light and happiness into the hearts of many. Our condolences are extended to her sorrowing family, a daughter in the Bahamas and a son at home. Vancouver has lost an old member also in the person of Mrs. Beulah R. Jackson who died in Pasadena, California on April 4th. She joined the Vancouver Lodge in 1924 and was a keen and earnest student and endeared herself to all by her happy and radiant personality. Although she lived in Pasadena since the death of her husband, Dr. Jackson who died some years ago, she always kept in touch with her lodge by means of most cheery letters and frequent visits which everybody looked forward to. To her sister Mrs. Camille Hobson who lives in San Jose, California, we extend our condolences.
- E. L. T.
THE THREE TRUTHS
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry witb them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
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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 Librarian, 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ont.
The attention of our readers is drawn to the recent ruling of the Executive that letters intended for publication should not exceed five hundred words in length. Will our correspondents please observe this rule in all future letters?
The President, Mr. C. Jinarajadasa, is very kindly arranging to send The Theosophist to each Lodge of the Society in Canada for a year in order that the Canadian members may become better acquainted with the work which is being carried on at Headquarters. The section of the magazine headed `On the Watch Tower' is written by the President. These subscriptions are a personal gift from Mr. Jinarajadasa, who requests that if copies are not required they be returned to him as old copies are valuable. We are sure the Lodges will appreciate this opportunity to read The Theosophist and on their behalf we thank Mr. Jinarajadasa for his generous gesture.
Word was received in February that the publication of H.P. Blavatsky's Collected Writings had been somewhat delayed, but that the work was proceeding satisfactorily. There is an enormous amount of labor in getting out such such a book as every detail has to be checked and rechecked. There is also a heavy financial burden and prepaid advance orders will help with this side of the problem. These may be sent to the compiler, Mr. Boris de Zirkoff, editor of Theosophia at Room 240 Western Buildnig, 553 Suoth Western Ave., Los Angeles 5, California.
The special attention of readers is drawn to the article respecting the disassociating of the Theosophical Society from the various movements which have been started within its ranks. This is an excellent principle to adopt and is a very welcome step in the right direction. There is an ever-recurring tendency to identify the Society with some idea or course of action promulgated by a group of members. No matter how worthy these may be, they must not be permitted to encroach upon the essential neutrality of the Society.
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist: - Referring to Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn's article, "Human Agency in Karma", in the March 15, 1950 issue of The Canadian Theosophist and which is the opening one of a new series; the key statement contained therein is one that can not and must not go unchallenged in any Theosophical publication.
Dr. Kuhn's thesis is: "that there is a certain class of truths that can be held authentic in a highly conceptual sense and at a high conceptual level, but which yet are not to be, indeed can not be, made the basis of guidance in human conduct - the class of truths that come under the category of `true in abstract conception but unworkable in human life' - those that the philosophers have called `abstract universals' (or) - the Ideas of the reason (Kant)".
Dr. Kuhn's key statement is the bald assertion that "They (the highest and most universal truths) can not be verified by experience".
If this statement be correct, the testimony of the "so great a cloud of witnesses" who down through the ages have asserted with such perfect unanimity the reality of the mystical experience, is invalid, and the term Theosophy, which means literally "Knowledge of God" is a hollow mockery so far as its application to man and his life on earth is concerned.
Detailed analysis of Dr. Kuhn's article reveals some very grave weaknesses in his argument, particularly in the interpretation he puts upon several scriptural and other references he uses to support his thesis.
For instance: " `The Lord God is a sun and a shield', assumedly from the sun" and: "This series of articles will have to do with the function of the shield in the realm of philosophical wisdom". If the biblical quotation be studied in its context in the 84th Psalm, and particularly in that of the verse from which it is lifted, the "shield" can be most reasonably interpreted as from extraneous interests that would distract attention from the "sun", and Dr. Kuhn's "assumedly from the sun" is by way of wishful thinking on his part and "the function of the shield in the realm of philosophical wisdom" becomes a phrase without meaning.
Again, the words from the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven", surely carry a meaning the direct antithesis of what Dr. Kuhn seems to infer, the more so when corroborated by such admonitions of Jesus as, "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" and, "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect".
After stating and developing his thesis at the beginning of the article, Dr. Kuhn suddenly changes his ground as follows: "Man's single task, as Plato tells us, is `to weave together mortal and immortal natures' (and incidentally, to apply this in support of his opening thesis requires the most tortuous of reasoning) or to unify the God principle germinally in us with the human elements or forces of the body and psyche. `Spiritual' cult philosophy, both in and out of the Theosophical movement, has somehow come to take Yoga as the work of lifting the human clear out of his world and exalting him into states entirely removed from human provenance. This is the error that must be corrected in a true view of spiritual evolution and the true pursuit of the higher life".
The question of possible misuse of Yoga by certain groups of people is of course entirely aside from Dr. Kuhn's thesis that universal cannot be verified
by experience, and its sudden introduction into the article at this juncture is indicative of lack of clarity of thought on his part.
If this is to be the thesis of his articles, why did Dr. Kuhn not say so to begin with - instead of virtually denying the validity of Yoga, which certainly does predicate the verification of universal truth by experience.
In general, Dr. Kuhn's approach to the higher life is along purely intellectual lines. This approach is quite valid for those who wish to use it, but it does not preclude the more direct approach of the mystic. Rather, if the implications of the higher reaches of the intellectual approach are honestly faced, instead of "rationalized" aside as Dr. Kuhn attempts to do, they lead to a merging of intellect with intuition, and the final verification of universal truth by direct experience.
E. B. Dustan.
218 Albertus Ave., Toronto,
April 2, 1950.
A DEFENCE OF KAMA (Continued from Page 36)
we share with the brute creation, may be redeemed and sanctified, when they are not actually redirected into a higher manifestation. The sannyasin, who has evolved beyond the pairs of opposites and outgrown the householder stage, because in God he has found the consummation of all desire, may have left far behind him the moral strivings of the average man. But the dharma of the ordinary person, caught in a web of human relationships from which he cannot extricate himself because of karma, is to purify and rationalize his lower desires.* [* John Milton so-called Puritan poet of the 17th century, who was a student of the Zohar, identified virtue with moderation.]
For instance, even the desire for food can be sacrificed * on the altar of the higher manas. [* The English word "sacrifice" is here used in its basic Latin meaning sacer (sacred) facio (make).] When animal appetite is uncontrolled by the rational faculty a man is a glutton.* [* Of course it is well known that eating and drinking to excess may have its root in some psychological malajustment rather than a gluttonous appetite.] But when it is restrained he is non-gluttonous. The man thus governed by mind is never a gourmand; for he eats moderately and scientifically.
These lower passions and desires, like immoderate eating and drinking, we slough at death, as a serpent its skin, (we are told), till our descent into incarnation again. On the Kama-loka plane they temporarily animate an astral "shell". But the higher kamic tendencies (and what man is without them) have their blissful fruition in devachan. There the socalled sinner* may wrap himself round in the unsullied robes woven of the threads of moments when he contemplated beauty of shape or sound, or cherished noble desires long since stifled or forgotten. [* Many a social sinner has a kamic nature much in advance of his detractors; those whose negative virtue consists largely in abstention from those acts which ethics has labelled unrighteous. I once heard a Christian minister say that he never knew what tolerance and largeness of heart was till he became an intimate of an officer's mess during the Great War. And it was fraternization with these men, many of whom were gamblers and heavy drinkers, that forced upon him the conviction that he, himself, was a self-righteous humbug.]
Perhaps the highest kamic expres-
sion attainable is spiritual devotion to the Supreme. A devotee of the bakti yoga school may have ceased to see glamor in the mayavic show. But few of us have arrived at the Hamlet stage wherein the "usages" of the world appear "flat, stale and unprofitable". The hour for our withdrawal into some Himalayan retreat has not yet come and perhaps will not come for many cycles of time. Instead we must lead a life conformable to our level of development and play the game according to ethical rules. And for the solution of our problems we can cultivate the higher emotion of faith when a filial dependence upon Krishna for direction replaces the old wayward impulses of the personality.
Indeed, those who have a genuine love for nature and art, though the word God is absent from their vocabularies, are constantly refining their emotions. It is something that a Chopin composition has power to transport us; that the flash vision of a cardinal, so like a flame in flight, has power to strangely move us; that a Shelly's nightingale notes of unpremeditated joy has not lost its power to thrill us; that the panorama of the steadfast and invariant stars has power to tranquillize our troubled thoughts and invade our spirits with the peace that floweth like a river. May it not be that these esthetic responses to the beauties of color, form and sound that enliven and glamorize the familiar features of our environment are but pale reflections of the raptures of the God-intoxicated man?
Indeed if those subtle-souled Vedantists are right the Self-existent One has affinities with the artistic temperament. The complete One, according to them, projected the whirligig of time, together with the countless creatures who bestride it, just for His diversion. The Indian image of the many-armed Krishna dancing within the wheel is a pictured representation of the Creator who disports Himself in the playground of His world. His desire, it would appear, was remote from anything resembling purpose. And perhaps the child, moved by the play-impulse to build sand-castles on the beach, which the incoming waves will so soon demolish and wash away, is the perfect symbol of Him who creates purely out of the spirit of spontaneous joy. From this point of view is not he who lives each hour creatively, lovingly appreciative* of the gift of life, near to the heart of Krishna? Who would deny that joy, no less than compassion and brotherly love, is kama in one of its higher expressions?
[* Browning, in his dramatic monologue, "My Last Duchess", with a few deft strokes limns the portrait of a woman in whom the higher kamic qualities of kindness and radiant happiness were developed to a superlative degree. In interpreting the "depth and passion of her earnest glance", as written in the line and color of a pictured likeness, the duke, her husband, unconsciously betrays the petrified condition of his own feelings.]
ORIGINAL AND UP-TO-DATE THEOSOPHY
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THE POLICY OF DISASSOCIATION OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
It is perhaps not unnatural that a major change in arrangements at Adyar, the International Headquarters,
should give rise to questionings, especially by newer members of the Society. It is to set all minds at rest that it is necessary to review the Society's long established policy of disassociation from the various movements which have arisen from within its ranks. Older members are familiar with this, but for the sake of the newer ones it is desirable to restate the policy from time to time.
Let it be said at the outset that this policy is not one implying disinterest on the part of the Society, or an unsympathetic disposition toward these movements. All the Presidents of the Theosophical Society have not only shown the most direct and enthusiastic personal interest in them, in most instances they have been mainly responsible for or have taken an active part in promoting such movements; and their immediate associates in the direction of the Society and many of its leading members have been no less cooperative.
It all goes back to the Society's earliest days. It is that policy which prevents the Society from associating itself actually, by implication or even in appearance, with any other organization or movement whatsoever. This is in keeping with the purposes enumerated in its Objects, of forming a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood without any distinctions, encouraging study and investigating nature's hidden laws and man's latent powers. These Objects plainly set before the Society and its members the task and the ideal of the search for truth, within an atmosphere of brotherly understanding and tolerance, without which the greater truths, by their very nature, cannot be understood or deeper spiritual enlightenment achieved.
To this search the Society calls all "without distinction". The Society is beyond all caste or creed or sect, and men and women of all religions and all denominations are found in its membership. No man is excluded for what he believes, for his way of livelihood, for his infractions of the legal code or of the moral law, provided he affirms his loyalty to the Society's First Object of Universal Brotherhood. No barriers of any nature may be imposed.
The Society's teachings are opposed to cruelty, but it makes no statement against the soldier for his service to his country or the vivisector who genuinely believes his experiments to be of service to his fellowmen. Each man must judge for himself whether he offends. Neither the Society nor members of differing opinion, though for themselves they might apply the teachings and evaluate them otherwise, have the right to judge or to condemn another.
Capital punishment is a practice not in harmony with the basic principles of the One Existence and the teaching relative to man's life on several planes, but the executioner is not condemned or denied membership. Members in their private capacity may join organizations for peace and to abolish vivisection and capital punishment. The Society does not join or associate itself. It proclaims the great truths and principles, calls attention to laws and practices that are out of harmony with them, and draws man ever to a realization of the principles of nature by which all mankind's activities should be governed.
But as the Society is careful to avoid creating barriers by condemnation, so
also it avoids giving its support to the many movements for the social and economic advancement of mankind. Here are even wider differences of opinion strongly held by larger groups. The Society allies itself with no political party, no reform group. Its members work diligently and with integrity in all of them, translating the teachings into action as they see fit and rightly recognizing that on every side of every issue ever more of the light of wisdom and truth is needed.
It is in accord with these ideas that the Society has maintained at all times a policy of disassociation. Taking no stand, it leaves every member free to take his own, to seek truth and to apply truth as to him seems his duty.
The first President, Col. H.S. Olcott, maintained this policy very strongly throughout his long term of office and his manifold personal activities on behalf of human upliftment.
Writing in 1884 upon the need for caste reform in India and social reform in the West, he said:
"There is a necessary reformatory work to be carried on by specially-fitted caste reformers, individuals, and societies. It is as much outside the field of our Society's corporate activity as diet, intemperance, widow remarriage, chattel slavery, the social evil, vivisection, and fifty other outlets for philanthropic zeal. As a Society we abstain from meddling with them, though as individuals we are perfectly free to plunge into the thick of either of the fights that they occasion. The Theosophical Society ignores the differences of sex, for the Higher Self has no sex; also of color, for that is neither white, black, red, or yellow like the human races; of rank, wealth and political condition, worldly power or literary rank, for it is above all these limitations of the physical man - spotless, immortal, divine, unchangeable. That is why, as President, I never commit the Society to one side or the other of these questions. Mrs. Besant's Central Hindu College at Benares, my three Buddhist Colleges and two hundred schools in Ceylon, and my Pariah free schools in Madras are all individual, not Society, activities." [O.D.L., 3rd Series, pp. 69-71.]
This disassociation policy is frequently referred to directly or by implication in the writings of the President Founder and he consistently applied it in his own activities.
His successor, Dr. Besant, no less strenuously announced it, and with equal care avoided confusion of the Society and her functions as its President with her personal association in many public bodies and reform and educational movements. In her book India a Nation she quotes the above passage in the words of Col. Olcott in support of the idea that the principles and ideals of the Theosophical conception of Brotherhood had permeated and vivified Indian life and had initiated the renaissance of its ancient spirituality and culture. In the many movements she instituted for India's uplift, Dr. Besant often made public statements to keep the distinction clear between her action as an individual Theosophist and the work of the Theosophical Society.
The Liberal Catholic Church and the Co-Masonic movements received the attention of Dr. Besant and other leaders of the Society, closely associated with her, since in these movements they saw developing channels for the spread of the Society's ideals of Brotherhood and religious tolerance. But though nurtured so near to Adyar, the official heart of the Society, and though prominent Theosophists continued as their leaders, these organizations were soon set on their own feet and their independence and disassociation from the Society established in the public mind.
Dr. Arundale, succeeding Dr. Besant in the Presidency, was equally clear regarding this basic policy of the Theosophical Society. To avoid confusion in the public mind he ceased to be active in the Liberal Catholic Church, though he was its Regionary Bishop for India. By nature and by experience he was an educator and it was natural that educational institutions should come to birth during his term of office. Of these however he was especially careful to make clear that they were but temporarily associated with the Society. Though the Besant Memorial School was permitted to commence on the Estate in 1934, Dr. Arundale wrote in 1935: ". . . no activity of any nature must, without peril to the Society's future, be suffered to color our movement's great purposes. The sooner such activities [the new educational organizations, C. J.] are able to remove themselves entirely from even an indirect association with the Society - of course they can have no direct association whatever - the better both for them and for the Society." [To all who have loved and love Annie Besant, by G.S.A.]
Dr. Arundale, frequently reiterated this policy during his presidency, though the war made difficult the disassociation he desired. In his annual presidential address of 1943 he said, "the urgent need of the School is for a plot of ground and buildings of its own", and in April 1945, only a few months before his death, writing of the approaching Besant Centenary in 1947 he said of the School, "It is indeed the beginning of a memorial to Annie Besarit, abut it can be no real and lasting memorial until it is erected on its own grounds . . . . " [The Theosophist, April 1945.]
It is in pursuance, and indeed in protection of this policy, lest it be submerged, and to meet the present and growing need of workers who need to be housed at Headquarters, that as fourth President of the Theosophical Society, I have asked the Besant Centenary Trust to relinquish gradually, over a period of the next five years, some part of the ground and buildings occupied by its several institutions, in preparation for which the Trust had already purchased some 60 acres of land near Adyar. The further implementation of this policy in respect of these institutions will fall within the term of a succeeding President, whether myself or another.
Thus far I have declared my policy as President of the Society. But this does not mean that as an individual I am not enthusiastic about the movements under the auspices of the Besant Centenary Trust. I am one of the members of its Executive Committee.* It was in 1905 that for the first time I saw clearly the relation of the role of Art to human welfare. I wrote then, forty-three years ago, a transaction for the European Federation under the title "Art as a Factor in the Soul's Evolution." [* December, 1949. I have been elected one of two Vice-Presidents of the Trust. V.P.A.]
Whenever since then I have had any opportunity I have emphasized how the arts are the very soul of a true civilization. For several years I was President of the International Fellowship of Arts and Crafts. Therefore I desire to give all the aid I can, in spite of my many limitations due to heavy calls on my time and strength, to the work for Art and human culture, and especially for the purification of all ideas of Indian culture, for which Srimati Rukmini Devi has been working with utter devotion and perfect sacrifice for so
many years. Without the slightest hesitation I am for the development of her work and shall always give what aid I can in both time and money.
- C. Jinarajadasa.
Adyar, March 26, 1948.
AT THE ART GALLERY
This too is a design of deep roots
divided in all directions -
in modern mode
heard over and above remembered echoes
of some oft' trodden road,
and seen through uncurtained windows
as an ancient episode.
Take therefore -
a woman or a mountain or a rose,
the principles the same,
unity embodied in curves exquisite
too complex for geometric proof or name.
where color is the contour of each nerve
stripped taut to serve with clever stress
that which indwells in loveliness,
the inner urge so rarely seen
and always missed by the sentimentalist;
the unity of tears, of dew, and of a sunlit smile
that glides from hill to vale,
drawn to a scale of years for every mile;
can you not now consider
all things else redundant and out of date
as any vow of chastity
and maybe guess that beauty is designed
to mate with loneliness.
Take, therefore no more but give,
give not of mind but of the heart
and postulate the moment unafraid
in such degree
that mountain reaches down to touch the sea;
be gratified to give direct
and be not, objectively,
- H. L. Huxtable.
It is understandable that some members may feel concern that outspoken expression of individual members in the Canadian Theosophist may lead to misunderstanding and enmity. This need not be so. This is why we should stress the importance of greater accent on Divine Love. Articles written and expressed in this spirit, surely will not offend any member.
The message is the all important thing, the organization should take second place. In any democratic organization there will always be a difference of opinion.
Any "flapdoodle" can preside over an organization of "yes men", this is what the autocrat does. It takes an enlightened or "God man" with a heart full of love, with strength and understanding to lead a society of free men. The Theosophical Society of all organizations should have among its members such men, if not, then what they have been taught or absorbed was not theosophy, and "there is the rub", we should face it.
It is good to watch and contemplate the sunrise, we feel impressed by its quiet strength as it rises above the horizon. It moves with a certitude of that which is definite, yes, of the Infinite.
Man, (a potential God) should move onward with the same certitude, manifesting love toward his fellowman and every living thing - even should we plant a tree, why not give it love as well as care, and of certainty it will grow.
If a tree responds, how much more our fellowman. Human beings as well as trees - metaphorically speaking - need pruning, and sometimes transplanting, yet any effort in that direction - to be of lasting good must be done with love and understanding. The result then, will be as certain as the response of the tree to the warm rays
of the sun, the gentle rain, and the soil that nourishes it; whereas scorching sun and violent wind does not make for growth. This being so, why tarry? Let us proceed with determination born of love and wisdom, so that understanding and cooperation will attend our efforts and so that our society may thrive.
We have tarried long in the mayavic regions, caught spellbound by the glamor and enchantment of psychism and ritual. Let us break the spell and move onward toward the goal of "man made perfect" and thus become a beneficent force, worthy of our heritage.
The Druids - using a metaphor -spoke of eagles taking morning exercise by making swift flights and pecking at the stars to sharpen their beaks.
We need freedom of flight, so that we may better survey and evaluate the real as well as the unreal. This calls for strength of will, determination and awareness of the highest order.
We must therefore bring the complete man into harmony, only then can we focus our maximum capacity on the path which is the goal.
"Starting upon the long journey immaculate, descending more and more into sinful matter, and having connected himself with every atom in manifested space - the Pilgrim, having struggled through, and suffered in, every form of Life and Being, is only at the bottom of the valley of Matter, and half through his cycle, when he has identified himself with collective Humanity. This, he has made in his own image. In order to progress upwards and homewards, the `God' has now to ascend the weary uphill path of the Golgotha of Life. It is the martyrdom of self-conscious existence. - S.D. I, 288.
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