Divine Wisdom Brotherhood Occult Science
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Vol. XXXI, No. 5 Toronto, July 15th, 1950 Price 20 Cents
HOW SHOULD WE TREAT OTHERS?
The subject relates to our conduct toward and treatment of our fellows, including in that term all people with whom we have any dealings. No particular mode of treatment is given by Theosophy. It simply lays down the law that governs us in all our acts, and declares the consequences of those acts. It is for us to follow the line of action which shall result first in harmony now and forever, and second, in the reduction of the general sum of hate and opposition in thought or act which now darkens the world.
The great law which Theosophy first speaks of is the law of Karma, and this is the one which must be held in view in considering the question. Karma is called by some the "law of ethical causation," but it is also the law of action and reaction; and in all departments of nature the reaction is equal to the action, and sometimes the reaction from the unseen but permanent world seems to be much greater than the physical act or word would appear to warrant on the physical plane. This is because the hidden force on the unseen plane was just as strong and powerful as the reaction is seen by us to be. The ordinary view takes in but half of the facts in any such case and judges wholly by superficial observation.
If we look at the subject only from the point of view of the person who knows not of Theosophy and of the nature of man, nor of the forces Theosophy knows to be operating all the time, then the reply to the question will be just the same as the everyday man makes. That is, that he has certain rights he must and will and ought to protect; that he has property he will and may keep and use any way he pleases; and if a man injure him he ought to and will resent it; that if he is insulted by word or deed he will at once fly not only to administer punishment on the offender, but also try to reform, to admonish, and very often to give that offender up to the arm of the law; that if he knows of a criminal he will denounce him to the police and see that he has meted out to him the punishment provided by the law of man. Thus in everything he will proceed as is the custom and as is thought to be the right way by those who live under the Mosaic retaliatory law.
But if we are to inquire into the subject as Theosophists, and as Theosophists who know certain laws and who insist on the absolute sway of karma,
and as people who know what the real constitution of man is, then the whole matter takes on, or ought to take on, a wholly different aspect.
The untheosophical view is based on separation, the Theosophical upon unity absolute and actual. Of course if Theosophists talk of unity but as a dream or a mere metaphysical thing, then they will cease to be Theosophists, and be mere professors, as the Christian world is today, of a code not followed. If we are separate one from the other the world is right and resistance is a duty, and the failure to condemn those who offend is a distinct breach of propriety, of law, and of duty. But if we are all united as a physical and psychical fact, then the act of condemning, the fact of resistance, the insistence upon rights on all occasions - all of which means the entire lack of charity and mercy - will bring consequences as certain as the rising of the sun tomorrow.
What are those consequences, and why are they?
They are simply this, that the real man, the entity, the thinker, will react back on you just exactly in proportion to the way you act to him, and this reaction will be in another life, if not now, and even if now felt will still return in the next life. The fact that the person whom you condemn, or oppose, or judge seems now in this life to deserve it for his acts in this life, does not alter the other fact that his nature will react against you when the time comes. The reaction is a law not subject to nor altered by any sentiment on your part. He may have truly offended you and even hurt you, and done that which in the eye of man is blameworthy, but all this does not have anything to do with the dynamic fact that if you arouse his enmity by your condemnation or judgment there will be a reaction on you, and consequently on the whole of society in any century when
the reaction takes place. This is the law and the fact as given by the Adepts, as told by all sages, as reported by those who have seen the inner side of nature, as taught by our philosophy and easily provable by any one who will take the trouble to examine carefully. Logic and small facts of one day or one life, or arguments on lines laid down by men of the world who do not know the real power and place of thought nor the real nature of man cannot sweep this away. After all argument and all logic it will remain. The logic used against it is always lacking in certain premises based on facts, and while seeming to be good logic, because the missing facts are unknown to the logician, it is false logic. Hence an appeal to logic that ignores facts which we know are certain is of no use in this inquiry. And the ordinary argument always uses a number of assumptions which are destroyed by the actual inner facts about thought, about karma, about the reaction of the inner man.
The Master "K.H.," once writing to Mr. Sinnett in the Occult World, and speaking for his whole order and not for himself only, distinctly wrote that the man who goes to denounce a criminal or an offender works not with nature and harmony but against both, and that such act tends to destruction instead of construction. Whether the act be large or small, whether it be the denunciation of a criminal, or only your own insistence on rules or laws or rights, does not alter the matter or take it out of the rule laid down by that Adept. For the only difference between the acts mentioned is a difference of degree alone; the act is the same in kind as the violent denunciation of a criminal. Either this Adept was right or wrong. If wrong, why do we follow the philosophy laid down by him and his messenger, and concurred in by all the sages and teachers of the past? If right, why this swimming in an
adverse current, as he said himself, why this attempt to show that we can set aside karma and act as we please without consequences following us to the end of time? I know not. I prefer to follow the Adept, and especially so when I see that what he says is in line with facts in nature and, is a certain conclusion from the system of philosophy I have found in Theosophy.
I have never found an insistence on my so-called rights at all necessary. They preserve themselves, and it must be true if the law of karma is the truth that no man offends against me unless I in the past have offended against him.
In respect to man, karma has no existence without two or more persons being considered. You act, another person is affected, karma follows. It follows on the thought of each and not on the act, for the other person is moved to thought by your act. Here are two sorts of karma, yours and his, and both are intermixed. There is the karma or effect on you of your own thought and act, the result on you of the other person's thought; and there is the karma on or with the other person consisting of the direct result of your act and his thoughts engendered by your act and thought. This is all permanent. As affecting you there may be various effects. If you have condemned, for instance, we may mention some: (a) the increased tendency in yourself to indulge in condemnation, which will remain and increase from life to life; (b) this will at last in you change into violence and all that anger and condemnation may naturally lead to; (c) an opposition to you is set up in the other person, which will remain forever until one day both suffer for it, and this may be in a tendency in the other person in any subsequent life to do you harm and hurt you in the million ways possible in life, and often also unconsciously. Thus it may all widen out and affect the whole body of society. Hence no matter how justifiable it may seem to you to condemn or denounce or punish another, you set up cause for sorrow in the whole race that must work out some day. And you must feel it.
The opposite conduct, that is, entire charity, constant forgiveness, wipes out the opposition from others, expends the old enmity and at the same time makes no new similar causes. Any other sort of thought or conduct is sure to increase A, the sum of hate in the world, to make cause for sorrow, to continually keep up the crime and misery in the world. Each man can for himself decide which of the two ways is the right one to adopt.
Self-love and what people call self-respect may shrink from following the Adept's view I give above, but the Theosophist who wishes to follow the law and reduce the general sum of hate will know how to act and to think, for he will follow the words of the Master of H.P.B. who said: "Do not be ever thinking of yourself and forgetting that there are others; for you have no karma of your own, but the karma of each one is the karma of all." And these words were sent by H.P.B. to the American Section and called by her words of wisdom, as they seem also to me to be, for they accord with law. They hurt the personality of the nineteenth century, but the personality is for a day, and soon it will be changed if Theosophists try to follow the law of charity as enforced by the inexorable law of karma. We should all constantly remember that if we believe in the Masters we should at least try to imitate them in the charity they show for our weaknesses and faults. In no other way can we hope to reach their high estate, for by beginning thus we set up a tendency which will one day perhaps bring us near to their development; by not beginning we put off the day forever.
- F. T. S.
THEOSOPHY IN ACTION
By Roy Mitchell
If there be in our Theosophical Society the defect of which I have spoken as destroying the earlier societies, this wonder-seeking (which is inevitably self-seeking) on inner planes for contacts with the Great Ones, for initiations, for scraps of information of events outside of us instead of earnest search for processes inside of us, such a defect will show in our work. Most of all, it will show in our literature, because literature is the flower of our work.
There are ample indications that the new or revealed material for our renaissance completes itself within the first quarter century, and that thereafter the task of the Society is to make a revaluation of life, of letters, of art, of science, of religion, in terms of that revelation. Mere conservation of forces would require as much. If the unveiling of esoteric truth be accompanied by the dangers of which we have been told so often, why should that process of unveiling be continued long after we have ceased to be able to use what we already possess?
We have not used it. For twenty-five years now scarcely a wheel has turned in thousands of the departments in which The Secret Doctrine has made it possible for us to revalue life. Here and there an isolated worker, deriving directly from the origins of the Society, has produced a revaluation of moment, but in the main stream of the Society we have made nothing that deserves a place beside those works of the first quarter. I shall receive fierce denials of this, but I shall require of the denier not only that he shall have read those first books, but that he shall have worked and taught in the Society for at least a decade, and not have been caught up in an emotional wave three of four years ago.
Perhaps it is a condition of growth. Perhaps under cycle law we must be fed for a quarter century, perhaps we spend a quarter century in the effervescent follies of adolescence, perhaps then a quarter century of robust maturity, perhaps at last a quarter century of conservation and contemplative old age, awaiting the birth of the new impulse.
In such case we are coming now to our fulness of strength, having done all the silly things our ineptitude dictated, and steadying down into a powerful stride. It is so I prefer to think of it, not to think of the misspend days but of the rectification of our misspending, not to bring accusations of negligence or obliquity but to remedy them.
If, then, we are to grow up into a potent manhood there are some errors we must mend. It will not be enough to trifle with lesser magic, to lose ourselves in pools of sentimentality, to claim to be the initiates of this or the channels of force of that, to purport to record the past of inconsequential people - of great people, for the matter of that - to retail small gossip ten times removed from the first teller, who himself knew nothing about it. We shall have to address ourselves seriously to those revaluations which were set us twenty-five years ago and which we have yet scarcely touched.
We have no book on Buddhism. A.P. Sinnett's misspelling of "Budhism" might lead people to suppose we have, but when we have to study Buddhism, after exhausting a few elementary and not very fertile lectures in printed form, we must go to Edkins, Oldenburg, Carus, Schlagintweit, Eakins, Beal and Rhys Davids. Here in a field from
which we draw chiefly, we have no authoritative work. Neither have we any on Hinduism. Again we have a few lectures, a class-book for Hindu boys, and one or two works around the fringe of the subject, but no work which challenges scholarship. Srinavasa Iyengar's book has disappeared. We have a lecture or two on Zoroastrianism and there we stop. In spite of all we claim to know, we have left the field to Martin Haug and one or two others. We have nothing in Egyptian religion, good, bad or indifferent. With all our professed sources of information, we have nothing on Chaldea, nothing on Babylonia, Assyria, Troja. There are books, but none of ours. We can dig up unprovable details about Peru scores of millenia ago, but the world has only five Etruscan words and we cannot add a single one to the number. We might as well not know there is such a place as China since H.P. Blavatsky died. We have left that immense and intriguing field to all but Theosophists. Taoism is almost untouched.
We might have made an authoritative survey of Norse myth, but we have not. Neither have we done anything with the Finnish Kalevala, the Nibelungen Ring, the Holy Grail, the Romance of the Rose. We have talked about, but we have not made a book about the Alchemists, nor the Troubadours. Dante is our kind and we have left him to the Roman Catholic polemists.
We have no books on Mohammedanism, none on the Sufis, none on Mithraism (since Mead's), none on Mani, and none on either Talmud or Kabbalah (since Wynn Westcott's booklets). The rich fields of animism and fetichism, embodying as they do the fragments of great religions, have been beneath our notice. Maya and Aztec civilization and religion we have left to others, we who lay such stress upon them. The myths of North America are gathered by everybody but Theosophists.
Plato: nothing but some of heroic old Alexander Wilder's essays, never reprinted. Plotinus: a translation by Mead, but no thorough study. Iamblichus: nothing. The Homeric epic nothing, nor anything on Greek religion, that vast and fascinating field so akin in culture to our own and on which our world of scholarship reads everything printed. On Keltic religion we have no book for all the magic it yields.
Where is our big text on Masonry? Wilmshurst's lectures, but nothing more. Where is our word on occult geography and the Platonic solids? The Greek canon of proportion? The magical symbolism of The Thousand Nights and One Night? Aeneid Book VI? The Mahabharata? The Ramayana? What have we on the mediaeval Theosophists? Bruno? Nicholas of Basle? Nicholas Flamel? Gemistus Pletho? The Fuggers? Trithemius? The Comacine Masters? Or on Cagliostro? Or Mesmer? We have a book on St. Germain, not a very good book. These are some of the things the world looks for from us, and we expect from ourselves. The clues are all there in The Secret Doctrine, and thousands more, but we are so busy about something else.
We write primers as fast as other and better primers go out of print. We are always striving for a lower doorstep when our house on the inside is stark and naked of the things it should contain. We have even lost what we had. We have let Jerome Anderson's books go out of print, and "Man: Fragments of Forgotten History," and Ralston Skinner's "Source of Measures," and Claude Wright's "Modern Theosophy," and Willson's "Ancient and Modern Physics," and The Dreamer's "Studies in Bhagavad Gita" and most of Tukaram Tatya's reprints of Hindu Scriptures, and Dvivedi's books. Until a year
or so ago H.P.B.'s Glossary was out of print when private persons revived it.
These are some of the lacunae we must fill, and on the side of scholarship alone. In science, in art, in service, in life, in politics, we have done scarcely so well.
Perhaps it is the mark of our failure. Perhaps it is only the sign of our youth. Theosophists now growing up and to come may be less charitable about it all. At least I think they will try to bridge some of these gaps.
(Next month, "Study.")
New Theory on the Question of the Divining Rod
While most authorities on the divining rod take a different view, it would seem that experiments recently made in Holland indicate that there are people in whose hands the divining rod actually functions, though not in the manner formerly believed. In spite of the most carefully controlled experiments, it has not been established that the dipping of the rod points to any hidden water-source, gold, silver or any other kind of metal. The rod in all these cases dipped not only when it was in the hands of a sensitive person, but also when the operator approached a building or a tree. These observations were carefully checked by attaching to the operator's wrist the electrodes of an apparatus which gave cardiographic recordings. Even when the divining rod was so attached that it could not move, and so not excite the operator, the cardiogram still showed the same variations as were observed when the rod actually dipped.
In the light of these facts the Dutch investigations have delevoped a new theory of the divining rod. It seems that in the brain of every person there is an electric current, which penetrates to the nerve cells and through these to the muscles. Now all objects are surrounded by magnetic fields, and so as soon as a person comes within range of such a field the electric current in his brain is affected by induction. When this happens, even only to such a small degree that the variations are not usually shown on the cardiogram, it has been found that among rod diviners there are hypersensitive people in whom the current variations in the brain cells lead to excitement of the muscles of the hands and even those of the heart, as the cardiogram records.
- From Astrologische Nachrichten, May-June, 1950.
The closer the union between the mortal reflection Man and his celestial prototype, the less dangerous the external conditions and subsequent reincarnations - which neither Buddhas nor Christs can escape. This is not superstition, least of all is it fatalism. The latter implies a blind course of some still blinder powers, but man is a free agent during his stay on earth. He cannot escape his ruling Destiny, but he has the choice of two paths that lead him in that direction, and he can reach the goal of misery - if such is decreed to him - either in the snowy white robes of the martyr, or in the soiled garments of a volunteer in the iniquitous course; for there are external and internal conditions which affect the determination of our will upon our actions, and it is in our power to follow either of the two. Those who believe in Karma have to believe in Destiny, which, from birth to death, every man weaves thread by thread round himself, as a spider his web. - S.D. I, 700.
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
The many friends of Mr. N.W.J. Haydon will be glad to know that although he was taken ill very suddenly last month and has had several bad sessions since, he is putting up a valiant fight. Our best wishes are extended to him. Mr. Haydon is an old theosophist having joined the American Section back in 1896 at Boston and was transferred to the Toronto Lodge a few years later. Since that time he has been a pillar in the lodge and has done inestimable work on its behalf as well as serving as a member of the General Executive for many years. By correspondence he is also well known to many in different parts of the world being as he is a keen and erudite student on many subjects not only theosophical but archeological and anthropological as well as being an authority on Masonic Research. We are glad to pay this tribute to one who has done so much good work on behalf of Theosophy, and trust he has many useful years ahead of him.
A correspondent writes me from Germany wishing to get in touch with a Canadian member who speaks and writes German, is anti-dogmatical, anti-sectarian and who has studied Krishnamurti thoroughly. Anyone interested should write the Secretary Theosophical International Correspondence League, Mr. John Van Eden, 232 Pacific Ave., Toronto.
This being the end of the financial year I regret to state that I have had to relegate some thirty odd members to the Inactive List as not having paid their dues for 1949/50. Any of these could, of course, be automatically reinstated by paying the current year's dues. If it had not been for these we should have
been well over the 400 mark. Those concerned please note.
I would again request that members, when paying annual dues, do so by remitting direct to their own lodge secretaries. This would make an appreciable difference in my office work.
The following new members are welcomed into the Society: Miss Elizabeth Hamilton; Miss Winifred A. Rock; Miss Stella Ballard; Mrs. Elizabeth Mitchell; Mr. Michael Zmood; Mr. Valentin Dersola, all of the Toronto Lodge; and Mr. Fred. J. Blackett and Mrs. Agnes Bunting both of the Hamilton Lodge. To all of these we extend our heartiest greetings.
- 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 with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
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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.
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Isolated students and those unable to have access to Theosophical literature should avail themselves of the Travelling Library conducted by the Toronto Theosophical Society. There are no charges except for postage on the volumes loaned. For particulars write to the Travelling Librarian, 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ont.
The American Theosophist for June contains among other matters, the program of a Workers' Conference at Olcott, July 1st to 6th together with the program of the Sixty Fourth Annual Convention of the Society which will also be held at Olcott from July 8th to July 12th. The principal speaker this year will be Mr. Sydney A. Cook, vice-president at the international headquarters (Adyar). The Convention will be followed by a Summer School, July 14th to 20th.
Professor and Mrs. E. Wood are now on their way to an unexpected holiday in Burmuda where they may remain for about three weeks. The report of the "Lodge Activities" in The American Theosophist indicated that Professor Wood had lectured in several of the American Lodges on his return trip to California after his lecture tour last spring. Dr. Alvin B. Kuhn also lectured for several lodges, his entire trip taking about two months, the most westerly point apparently being Kansas City.
The Annual Letter of Greeting from the parent lodge of The United Lodge of Theosophists is an encouraging document. "In 1950, the light of H.P. Blavatsky's mind continues as a source of increasing illumination for U.L.T. Students who recognize the germinal power of her words. This year seems a particularly appropriate time for considering the Meaning of our Age. Beginning with the most impressive of all H.P.B's prophetic statements, as contained in her Messages to the American Theosophists, we may now verify on every hand that intensification of both psychic and manasic faculties which represent a development towards maturity in the present human race. Nor have the intense labors of working Theosophists throughout the world, in following H.P.B.'s admonitions, been betrayed by a losing cause; today, interest in man's latent psychical powers is less - far less than in the eighteen-fifties - a matter of curiosity or of emotionalism. Presently this great field is pioneered
by men of disciplined and philosophical integrity." The letter goes on to report that "Direct evidence that free and active minds in greater numbers move toward a Theosophical allegiance comes from every side. During recent years Theosophists have entered the service of several universities. In Bombay, the number of college students attending regular U.L.T. discussions has grown almost phenomenally; in Bangalore, the participation of U.L.T. Members in establishing and carrying on the Institute of Culture has opened many lines of contact between men in the forefront of university life and the U.L.T. focus." The U.L.T. ascribes the growing interest in the Theosophical approach through the various activities carried on by that organization, to its policy of "holding to the Original Program" - which does not imply drifting into rigid conclusions on policies and practises. The work of the U.L.T. is of great significance in the Theosophical Movement.
The article "How Should We Treat Others" was written by Wm. Q. Judge and appeared in The Path for Feb. 1896. It was recently reprinted in The Theosophical Movement.
To the Editor, Canadian Theosophist.
Sir: RE Mystical Experiences Without Occult Training The various explanations in the S.D. regarding "the verifications of the highest and most universal truth" would rather favor Dr. Kuhn's further elucidations, that man has "to provide a mechanism of highly conditioned receptivity, of requisite sensitivity, etc." first and therefore when man will be able to verify the highest TRUTH" he will then be leaving manhood and approaching Godhood". The value of so called mystical visions and unions by Mystics and Saints can only be relative without occult training. Master K.H. in the M.L. points out the fact that "no two mystics of the West ever agreed upon the most vital problems - `those that have either TO BE, OR NOT TO BE' and of which there can be no two solutions" and that there are secret Brotherhoods of Initiates in the East, especially in Tibet and Tartary, there ONLY can the LOST WORD (which is no word) be found."
It is stated in the S.D. that "As to ecstasy, and such like kinds of self-illumination, this may be obtained by oneself and without any teacher or initiation, for ecstasy is reached by an inward command and control of Self over the physical Ego . . . . But even this is difficult, as the first necessary qualification is an unshakable belief in one's own powers and the Deity within onself; otherwise a man would simply develop into an irresponsible medium." It is further stated that "Occultism or Theurgy (not Theosophy) can teach the means of achieving the theophanic mystery when the Over Soul of the human being actually unites with him for purposes of instruction and revelation. Such an incarnation is only temporary and short during those mysterious trances or ecstasy, but in exceptional cases the mystery becomes complete, the word is made Flesh in real fact, and the individual becomes divine in the full sense of the term." From such statements we may deduct, that if final initiation requires the help of a Guru from the Eastern Brotherhood because "there are so many and such various conditions and states that even a Seer is liable to confound one with the other."
- A Student.
Montreal, May 31, 1950.
MORE ON "HUMAN AGENCY IN KARMA"
The strictures of my good friend, Mr. E.B. Dustan, upon my article, Human Agency in Karma, afford such a splendid opportunity to add further items of value to the discussion raised by the article, that I fear my reply will run to the proportions of a full article in itself. But since I feel that Mr. Dustan has quite misinterpreted and misrepresented my position, I should like to have the space to clarify the matter, the more so as he has claimed that my views in the article should not go unchallenged in any Theosophic publication. Also, as the points in discussion bear vitally upon general modes of Theosophical thinking, the value of the discussion should justify the use of the space needed.
I might condense my entire reply in the brief statement that my critic has ignored the fact that my article confined itself to statements referring only to "a special class of conceptions" validated as true in high conceptual levels, which philosophers have called "abstract universals," which I stated could not be actualized concretely or used as guides to practical living by man as long as he is man. Ignoring my reference to this special class of principles conceived by abstract thought as true, my critic charged me with asserting that universal truth in its entirety could not be verified by man in his human experience. If I were stupid enough to make such a claim, surely my ideas should not find space in any Theosophical magazine.
Also, perhaps, I might sum up my whole rebuttal in the single statement that surely there are many things that man's mind has conceived as being true for God himself, even true for beings far transcending man's life, which man can not implement or actualize, in any concrete way at all. Man's thought can conceive that for God matter does not exist, that time does not exist as present, past and future - all being resolved in one eternal Now -, that space does not exist dimensionally, that a thought to God is the same thing as a material object, that all difference between things is illusory and that all things are one and the same, that the world can exist without being caused, that God himself has no sense of having been caused or created, being himself cause and creation, that, as Hindu philosophy asserts, things both are and are not at the same time, that a thing can really be, and yet be only an illusion and not a reality. But would any one hold that man can mentally realize these concepts as true for himself, much less actualize them concretely in his experience? Yet Mr. Dustan's bald endorsement of the validity of God's command to us to be as perfect as God himself commits him to the claim that we can equalize our realizations with those of God. May I be excused for putting forth my suggestion that this point of view, rather than the one my article emphasized, should not stand unchallenged in any Theosophical publication?
It should be enough as answer to this position that my critic seems to ignore totally the recognized canon of philosophical thought that man lives wholly in the world of the relative and therefore can have no realization or cognition of the Absolute, or of God. Practically all philosophers unite in denominating God the Unknowable, the Infinite, the Ineffable, the Unattainable. Our Secret Doctrine repeatedly speaks of "him" as the forever uncognizable one real Being,
about whom to even speculate is forever futile. If merely to speculate about that eternal finality of being is beyond the power of finite mind, how much more must it be conceded that for man to realize the God consciousness is the most arrant of all presumptions? In one view and in a specially defined use of the term, all consciousness is God consciousness, and therefore we are constantly manifesting the mind of the Creator. But this is not in debate. Mr. Dustan speaks of our ability to have knowledge of God in immediate connection with his Bible citation that we are expected to be as perfect as God himself, and this commits him to claiming that we can know God in all his complete and ultimate fulness of being. We think we are fully warranted in asserting that this is dangerous doctrine to let stand unchallenged in a Theosophical periodical. This would align him with the position taken by so many unintelligent groups of "spiritual cultists" in all ages, that by grabbing his bootstraps in some right way man can be in a few jumps right up beside the angels, the adepts, the planetaries, solar logoi, archangels, Elohim, Dhyan Chohans and gods, nay with God himself. Are we to presume that Mr. Dustan has applauded the shameless proclamation of the recently deceased Robinson, of Moscow, Idaho, that - for a cash sum - he could bring us to talk with God -, as he claimed he was doing? Yes, of course, any man can talk with God, if he ignorantly interprets any one slightly higher rate of vibration of the germinal divine mind within him as "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," which is just what gullible thousands have done. Surely it is time that Theosophists show the intelligence to distinguish carefully between the genuine possibilities implicit in man's slow evolutionary rise to divinity, on the one hand, and, on the other, the foolish belief that man now can attain those ultimates, perfections and consummations which the human mind postulates for God always and for man "at the last end." It has been one of the tragic aberrations and delusions of the uncritical religious thinking of millions of cult enthusiasts to interpret the Scriptural assurances of man's "perfection" at the end of the cycle as being attainable by some special devotion or magic now or at any time during the process of growth. This involves the delusive belief that by some extraordinary effort the creature can thrust himself forward and be at the climactic fulfilment of his journey without traveling the whole long road. I preclude from man no possibility of high and higher realization of his advance into knowledge of God, as Mr. Dustan claims I do. I simply assert that you can not be at the end of the course until you have covered all the mid-ground. And as God is the Infinite, the forever Unknowable, and progression in being is endless, it would appear that to talk of ultimates and perfections is so much inane babbling. It has been a well-grounded observation of mine that the misunderstanding of that word "perfect" in religious ideology has done more to derange sane mental view of life and theology than perhaps any other single word, unless it be that other misleading term, "only-begotten." "Perfect," as used in the Scriptures and Theosophy means simply "finished, completed," and refers, where it concerns man, to the finished stage of his growth in divinity which will be reached at the termination of the human cycle, the so-called "end of the age," so wildly mistranslated as the "end of the world." But the "perfection" or finishing of one stage of the endless march only prepares the creature for the beginning of the next higher stage; so the thought of final "perfection" had better be dismissed forever from our philosophical thinking.
In this connection it should be said that the talk of the attainment of "cosmic consciousness" by such men as Emerson, Walt Whitman, Plotinus, talk that is very common among Theosophists, is to be viewed as overweening miscalculation of the possibilities, unless the term "cosmic" is used in a very limited and relative sense. But people take it to mean final consummation of God consciousness, and superstitious folly is the result. Such a single item can become a broken cog in the machinery of mental sanity, deranging the whole psychic area.
And can my critic be oblivious of the oft-repeated statement in the Secret Doctrine that all conscious manifestation below the first emanation, indeed all below the Absolute, is Maya or Illusion? All man's realizations, then, are still mayavic, hence no true vision of reality. How, then, can man know God, if all our knowledge is Maya?
It might be well if Theosophists considered the force of Cardinal Newman's thought in Lead, Kindly Light:
I do not ask to see
The distant scene;
One step enought for me;
Lead thou me on
Assuredly, of course, not one step only, but assuredly one step at a time.
I fail to see that anything in my article gave ground for Mr. Dustan's contention that my "intellectual approach" to the principles considered invalidates the realities of the mystical approach. He claims that the testimony of "so great a cloud of witnesses" (to the mystical experience) down the ages negates my declaration that certain abstract conceptions of man's mind are not concretely workable by us humans. This gives me the happy opportunity to disenchant all needing such treatment of the overweening idea that saints' raptures and trance-like seizures of the mystics demonstrates beyond cavil all claims put forth as to man's ability to consummate complete "union with God." They prove nothing except our capacity for mystical experience. What possible motive would I have to deny or discount that? Such experiences have their own validity and their own importance in the psychology of religion. What I contend is that they do not prove any or all the dialectical propositions that they have so generally been claimed to establish. They surely do not prove that man may know God, have vision of God or be perfect as God is.
The piano keyboard helps us to see these things more clearly - and sanely. Let us say the keyboard, extended endlessly, represents the many keynotes of real beings, to be sounded in man's progressive experience one by one. Let us say his present range of experienc is one octave of seven keys, somewhere near the "middle." Normally his experience falls within this gamut of seven tones. But in some high moment he lifts his apperceptive faculties to a state of keen sensitivity at which they register for a brief blessed moment the glorious enchanting vibrations of the first key in the octave above. If he is intelligent he will be happy with the knowledge that he has sounded one higher note in the grand diapason of endless life.
But if he is unintelligent he will announce pompously that he has contacted God, has experienced ultimate beatitude, has been "seven minutes in eternity," has been in heaven with God, and all that. And so the testimony of the long list of mystics counts for nothing in the argument. If, as the Secret Doctrine so often says, even the Dhyan Chohans and the planetaries are still behind a veil of Maya which prevents them knowing more than a limited portion of the God-knowledge, it is beyond all argument
irrational to predicate for man the possibility of rising in his human state to full realization of his divine potential.
All such principles of "universal truth" as can be demonstrated within the range of the human gamut of consciousness will be so demonstrated and verified. But this just as definitely fences us off from the capabilities of the gods and the archangels - while we are humans. The Greeks beautifully say that "the gods distribute divinity to secondary natures;" but they discreetly add to each order in proportion to its capacity to utilize.
I am partcularly keen about answering Mr. Dustan's charge that I impose my own unwarranted interpretation upon certain passages I cited from the Bible to bolster up my "weak arguments." He instances my quotation of the Scriptural declaration that "the Lord God is a sun and a shield" as one passage I thus misinterpreted. As it is my constant care to avoid this very thing he charges me with, and as my rendering of the meaning is not the result of my own "wishful thinking," but solidly grounded on reasons, I must take the space to validate my interpretation.
I stated that the function of the symbol of the shield in the realm of philosophical wisdom had not been seen or depicted adequately, and I implied that it was of great importance. Mr. Dustan pooh-poohed this statement and asserted that I had read into the symbol unwarranted significances for the sheer purpose of strengthening my argument. I fear he does not know on what perilous ground he stands when he attempts to belittle the significance of symbols in the ancient Scriptural field. He can not have read the Zohar or other Haggadoth of the Jews, or studied the antique religious lore of the Egyptians, for in these every symbol of the Old Testament is expounded in its meaningful reference to great truth. When even so un-esoteric an Egyptologist as E.A. Wallis Budge will say that every single symbol in the vast ancient Egyptian religious literature and ritualism has its definite significance - and the Hebrew is largely derived from the Egyptian - it is a rash assertion to claim that I am reading my own wishful translation into one of these symbols. It is just as silly to deny pertinent significance to the shield as to the cross, the crown, the tree, seed, river, sun, moon, star, water, earth, air, fire, the serpent and all the rest.
Nor does my critic seem to know that the sage writers of the Old Testaament almost universally were committed to the peculiar methodology of grouping the two "pairs of opposites" in single phrases. The positive was hardly ever presented without its counterpart, the negative; as light-dark, day-night, good-evil, right-left, above-below, inner-outer, heaven-earth, spirit-matter. So there is every solid reason to assume, as I did, that since the positive term here used, the sun, was the absolutely universal ancient symbol and heiroglyph of the God of spiritual light, the counterpart term going with it, shield, would signify the opposite of spirit, i.e., matter. The verse only restates that God is, as we know he is, (and again the Secret Doctrine is solidly with me on this) the dualism of spirit-matter. To take it any other way would be to ignore established Old Testament method. And at the same time, matter is the shield that God interposes for our protection, between the unbearable effulgence of his glory and our limited vision. And I certainly do not risk this as a sheer assertion of my own. It is based on both the assured implications of analogy and on other Biblical statements. There is that declaration that "no man can look upon the face of God and live. "Moses had to cover his face with a veil when he went into the presence of the Lord on the mount. (And the "mount" of the Bible
is just our earth!) And - a startling evidence of how marvellously symbolism follows truth - since man can not look upon God's face and live, so man's eye can not look into the face of the God-symbol, the sun, without injury.
On top of all this we have in Exodus (33:22) a declaration by God himself that adds strength to my interpretation: "And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will hide thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by. And I will take away mine hand and thou shalt see my back parts; but my face shall not be seen." Several verses above he had said, "Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live." Here God expressly states that unless he shield man from the full glare of his divine power, symboled by the sun always, man will be overpowered. And it is significant that he uses as the shield his own hand; for it is a remarkable fact that in all languages of antiquity the word "hand" is in the feminine gender. And matter, the eternal mater (mother), is universally feminine. These are not chance coincidences, but positive guides to cardinal significances. The power involved in matter - now so well known - is the "hand" that God wields to do his work in creation. Matter is that Biblical "handmaid of the Lord," - again feminine, be it noted. Nuclear fission has - at last - lifted a corner of that veil of Isis; and the whole world trembles before the possibility of having to face a fuller flash of that terrible radiation. Verily to talk of "seeing" or "knowing" God is one of the tragic lunacies engendered by religious fatuity. And verily it is the failure of religious philosophy to discern the relevant force of this shield in theology that has loaded matter, the very twin of spirit, with that obloquy which has twisted the thinking of untold millions into forms of hurtful error. Blocking and dimming the light of the sun of God - for man's protection - it has been held as evil! The Secret Doctrine itself joins this chorus without, I fear, adequate vindication of matter's ultimate beneficence.
With my best effort I can not see any basis for my critic's allegations that my position negates the force of the Lord's Prayer, that God's will be done on earth as in heaven. Beyond question, God's will is being done even now in part on earth, and will eventually be done in full measure, it may be assumed. But obviously his will is that man shall perfect (finish) that segment of the divine creative work which is limited to man's sphere; and this certainly can not include anything in the way of finalities, ultimates, perfect knowledge of God. Above perfected man stretch the illimitable heights!
Again, I am accused of having to resort to "the most tortuous of reasoning" to square Plato's statement that our business on earth is "to weave together mortal and immortal natures" with my opening declaration as to certain unrealizable abstractions of thought. Surely it is a fact that we can join our mortal animal nature with that of the immortal spiritual Ego implanted as seed within us, while still being unable to actualize certain noumenal abstrusities of our minds. That certaim truths are unverifiable by mortals posits no denial of the validity of mysticism and Yoga.
If Mr. Dustan will turn to Kant's so-called "antinomies" in any good history of philosophy, he will find listed the famous four, the antinomy of Creation, of Immortality, of Freedom, of Theology. In these he will be surprised to find that man's reasoning mind and man's actual experience directly clash in an impasse seemingly unresolvable by
our thought, shaking our confidence decidedly that such high abstract conceptions are verified by experience. In fact our experience seems precisely to contradict our conceptual genius. It is a staid observation that truth is astonishingly paradoxical.
And my critic must needs include what has become too generally a point of attack among Theosophists, - a belittling of the intellect as distinct from "intuition." He says my approach is "along purely intellectual lines," though he does say that this "is valid for those who wish to use it." (When has wishing or not wishing become a gauge of validity?) Then he adds that this intellectual approach "does not preclude the more direct approach of the mystic." Surely the time has arrived when some one should straighten us out on this eternal twanging the harpstring of disparagement of the "intellect," and our nebulous, vacuous exaltation (in mere words) of the "superior" faculty of the intuition. I have never said nor intimated that the use of the intellect precludes the function of the intuition. What it is most important to clarify once for all is that the intuition is a superior faculty to intellect only in the sense that it is the perfected development of that "lower" faculty itself. It is the intellect, but brought to such a stage of masterly efficiency that it grasps as in a flash the complete frame and conclusions of what the mind at less capable stages of its genius takes the long processes of concatenated or discursive reasoning to arrive at. It is, the mind at the flower of its divine potentiality of clear seeing. And what we so sorely need to know is that its discernments and revelations of truth do not contravene the conclusions reached, however tortuously, by the "lower" mind when this is correctly used. Truth naturally looks different from the higher point of vantage, no doubt; but as "higher mathematics" do not refute arithmetic, neither does the higher clarity of vision that apprehends truth instantaneously negate or falsify the conclusions of the logical mind. Intuition is to the intellect what the master sweep of a Paderewski is to the first piece laboriously learned by the beginner. The intuition does not refute or negate the intellect; it is its very own perfection. Let us have done at last with this constant belittling of the intellect. It does but subject us - and rightly - to the scorn of the really intelligent. It could be one of the reasons why highly intellectual people look down on us as a little hypnotized group of religionists who have not used their intellects to good purpose.
Needing correction also is the idea so widely prevalent among cultists that one can develop the intuitions without giving more than kindergarten cultivation to the intellect. Because all sorts of psychic afflations in the mystical world can be so easily assumed to be the work of intuition, it is a frequent spectacle of people in cult groups going around boasting of their ability to get truth firsthand by intuition, who could not get to first base in algebra, geometry or technical logic. The greatest of the philosophers have positively asserted that the whole road of long laborious intellectual development has to be trodden before that seemingly diviner immediacy of insight called intuition can be won. Spinoza reeks of pure intellect; yet he has been dubbed the "God-intoxicated philosopher." I am happy to note that Mr. Dustan himself says that "the implications of the higher reaches of the intellectual approach," if they "are honestly faced," "lead to a merging of intellect with intuition." Here at least we seem to be on common ground. But he says that I have "rationalized aside"
the implications of the higher intellectual approach. I have done no such thing. I have said that certain abstractions of our noumenal faculty can not be verified in human experience or used as actual guides to human behavior. This does not reason away any reaches of the intellect, higher or lower. t happens to be a simple fact.
And my critic ends by saying that these higher implications of the intellectual approach, if honestly faced, lead to "the final verification of universal truth by direct experience." Since he uses the word "final," as also "universal," without specific limitations of any kind, his statement must mean that man, as man, here and now, can directly in his experience verify every range, order, phase and the completeness of all truth possible within the scope of final and universal attainment. If so rash a statement would need refutation, I will set beside it just one paragraph taken at random from Cushing's History of Philosophy (Vol. II, p. 273) , in which, dealing with Kant, he writes: "God, purely as a conception [let it be noted how this is in line with my description of the class of abstract universals referred to] is constituted by Kant as the sum total of reality, the ens realissimum [the most real finality, or final reality] which so includes all finite qualities in Himself that they do not limit him. He is the primal cause of the possibility of all being. Now, can such an Idea have objective validity? No; the Idea of a sum total of all that is conceivable is not an object of possible experience. Only particular things or phenomena are realities for us. God as the transcending total of particular things can have only a conceptual reality and a validity for thought. The total has the reality that any idea has. This is Kant's general criticism of the dialectic Idea of God." Here is a great philosopher's complete endorsement of my position.
I grant in advance the possible rebuttal that one quotation from one philosopher, or even passages from God's own mouth in Scriptures, no matter how "sacred," does not necessarily settle a point in discussion. But I think the inherent force of the recognition of rightness in several verses of the Bible with which I will close my rebuttal will accredit them with overwhelming pertinence as upholding my side of the debate. Here are the eighth and ninth verses of chapter 55 of Isaiah: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Then we have the two verses (7 and 8) of chapter 11 of Job: "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?"
- Alvin B. Kuhn, Ph.D.
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