[[This issue, Vol. 31, No. 9, Nov. 15, 1950 is a commemorative issue of the 75th aniversary of the T.S. and has a card cover with abstract design.]]
--- inside front
THIS ISSUE of the Canadian Theosophist is to commemorate the 75th year of the founding of the Theosophical Society and as General Secretary I am taking advantage of the opportunity to send fraternal greetings to fellow members in Canada, to our Headquarters in Adyar, the Sections throughout the world as well as to Theosophists everywhere regardless of organizational affiliation.
Here in Canada, our membership in comparison to population may seem small, but in a letter just received from the President, he says "It is wonderful to think that 75 years ago just 16 persons were the sum total of the Society and now it is a world-wide organization." From that very small beginning the Theosophical Movement has expanded a thousandfold and its prestige is such that it was invited to sit in on the Council of the United Nations, thus showing that its ideas and ideals are slowly but surely permeating world thought. We in Canada, few in number though we be, can in the coming years make a tremendous contribution to the cause of Human Brotherhood, if each one individually resolves in the words of the old pledge "to make Theosophy a living power in my life".
The coming cycle of the next 25 years will be a time of opportunity and responsibility. Human destiny seems to be in the melting pot, we do not know what will emerge but I am confident that if the ameleorating influence of Theosophy can be brought into play in all fields of human endeavor, an era of Universal Brotherhood will blossom and fructuate in the coming century. Therefore to all Canadian members, to brother members of our own and other Theosophical Societies and to fellow students everywhere I would urge that we close our ranks and go forward with H.P.B.'s words in our hearts "Be Theosophists! work for Theosophy! for its practical realization alone can save the Western world".
- E.L. THOMSON, General Secretary, Theosophical Society in Canada.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
The Theosophical Society Is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made In an official document
Vol. XXXI, No. 9 Toronto, November 15th, 1950 Price 20 Cents
THE 75th ANNIVERSARY OF THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
On November 17th, 1875, the Theosophical Society was born and the Movement had a body through which its Message could be given to the world. From that action, inevitable in its cycle and ineffaceable in its effects, there has radiated out profound and far-reaching influences on men's minds. What the future years have in store for the now several outer organizations is of relative importance; the Theosophical Movement was incarnated, the spirit of Theosophy speaks once again on earth.
This 75th birthday marks the beginning of an important cycle. Those who are now members of the Movement, i.e., all Theosophically minded men and women irrespective of their affiliation or non-affiliation with one or another of the Societies, have a period of twenty-five years in which to work for the fulfillment of H. P. B.'s hopes for the future:
`It will gradually leaven and permeate the great mass of thinking and intelligent people with its large-minded and noble ideas of Religion, Duty and Philanthropy. Slowly but surely it will burst asunder the iron fetters of creeds and dogmas, of social and caste prejudices; it will break down racial and national antipathies and barriers, and will open the way to the practical realization of the Brotherhood of all men. Through its teaching, through the philosophy which it has rendered accessible and intelligible to the modern mind, the West will learn to understand and appreciate the East at its true value. Further, the development of the psychic powers and faculties, the premonitory symptoms of which are already visible in America, will proceed healthily and normally. Mankind will be saved from the terrible dangers, both mental and bodily, which are inevitable when that unfolding takes place, as it threatens to
do, in a hot-bed of selfishness and all evil passions. Man's mental and psychic growth will proceed in harmony with his moral improvement, while his material surroundings will reflect the peace and fraternal goodwill which will reign in his mind, instead of the discord and strife which is everywhere apparent around us today."
"If the present attempt, in the form of our Society, succeeds better than its predecessors have done, then it will be in existence as an organized, living and healthy body when the time comes of the effort of the XXth century. The general condition of men's minds and hearts will have been improved and purified by the spread of its teachings, and, as I have said, their prejudices and dogmatic illusions will have been, to some extent at least, removed. Not only so, but besides a large and accessible literature ready to men's hands, the next impulse will find a numerous and united body of people ready to welcome the new torch-bearer of Truth. He will find the minds of men prepared for his message, a language ready for him in which to clothe the new truths he brings, an organization awaiting his arrival, which will remove the merely mechanical, material obstacles and difficulties from his path. Think how much one, to whom such an opportunity is given, could accomplish. Measure it by comparison with what the Theosophical Society actually has achieved in the last fourteen years, without any of these advantages and surrounded by hosts of hindrances which would not hamper the new leader. Consider all this, and then tell me whether I am too sanguine when I say that if the Theosophical Society survives and lives true to its mission, to its original impulses through the next hundred years - tell me, I say, if I go too far in asserting that earth will be a heaven in the twenty-first century in comparison with what it is now!"
Despite the mistakes of past and present, despite the actions which have split the one Theosophical Society - the hoped-for `organized, living and united body' - into several separate Societies, the Theosophical Movement lives and grows. That it has survived and flourished in spite of the almost incapacitating blows dealt it by its devotees is an indication of the fundamental validity of the Message.
The dream of a `united' organization may not be realized within the next twenty-five years - there are no present indications of such a happening, and it might be a waste of energy to attempt any such amalgamation at the present time; perhaps H.P.B.'s words concerning a `united body' refer not to an outer organization, but rather to that `invisible lodge', the already united body of students who are at one among themselves in their adherence to `the original impulses' of the Theosophical Movement. That `invisible lodge' is indestructible and in the coming cycle it will attract a new generation of students who may with surer hands and wiser hearts build anew on old and enduring foundations, for that longed-for era of wisdom, tolerance, integrity and brotherhood among all nations, that heaven on earth in the twenty-first century.
THE FORMATION OF THE SOCIETY
Prior to the formation of the Society Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott had made the acquaintanceship of a number of persons of occult leanings. Evening meetings were held in H.P.B.'s room at 46 Irving Place, New York and these were attended by students of science, philologists, authors, lawyers, doctors, spiritualists, journalists and one or two clergymen. In May 1875, Colonel Olcott had endeavored to form a `Miracle Club' for occult research but the attempt failed. The actual formation of the Theosophical Society came about in an unplanned and apparently casual manner. The following account is taken from Old Diary Leaves:
"On the evening of September 7th, Mr. Felt gave his lecture on "The Lost Canon of Proportion of the Egyptians." He was a remarkably clever draughts-man, and had prepared a number of exquisite drawings to illustrate his theory that the canon of architectural proportion, employed by the Egyptians, as well as by the great architects of Greece, was actually preserved in the temple hieroglyphs of the Land of Khemi. His contention was that, by following certain definite clues one could inscribe what he called the "Star of Perfection" upon a certain temple wall, within which the whole secret of the geometrical problem of proportion would be read; and that the hieroglyphs outside the inscribed figure were but mere blinds to deceive the profane curiosity-seeker; for, read consecutively with those within the geometrical figure, they either made undecipherable nonsense or ran into some quite trivial narrative."
"Mr. Felt told us in his lecture that, while making his Egyptological studies, he had discovered that the old Egyptian priests were adepts in magical science, had the power to evoke and employ elementals, and had left the formularies on record; he had deciphered and put them to the test and had succeeded in evoking the elementals. He was willing to aid some persons of the right sort to test the system for themselves, and would exhibit the nature-spirits to us all in the course of a series of lectures, for which we were to pay him. Of course we passed an informal vote of hearty thanks for his highly interesting lecture, and an animated discussion followed. In the course of this, the idea occurred to me that it would be a good thing to form a society to pursue and promote such occult research, and, after turning it over in my mind, I wrote on a scrap of paper the following:
`Would it not be a good thing to form a Society for this kind of study?' - and gave it to Mr. Judge, at the moment standing between me and H.P.B., sitting opposite to pass over to her. She read it and nodded assent. Thereupon I arose and, with some prefatory remarks, broached the subject. It pleased the company and when Mr. Felt, replying to a question to that effect, said he would be willing to teach us how to evoke and control the elementals, it was unanimously agreed that the society should be formed. Upon the motion of Mr. Judge, I was elected Chairman, and upon my motion Mr. Judge was elected Secretary of the meeting. The hour being late, an adjournment was had to the following evening, when formal action should be taken."
Colonel Olcott was Chairman and Mr. Judge Secretary of the adjourned meeting, at which 16 persons were present. Another meeting was held on September 18th when the proposed name of the
Society `The Theosophical Society' was accepted.
`The choice of a name for the Society was, of course, a question for grave discussion in Committee. Several were suggested, among them, if I recollect aright, the Egyptological, The Hermetic, The Rosicrucian, etc., but none seemed just the thing. At last in turning over the leaves of the Dictionary, one of us came across the word "Theosophy", whereupon, after discussion, we unanimously agreed that that was the best of all; since it both expressed the esoteric truth which we wished to reach and covered the ground of Felt's methods of occult scientific research."
At a meeting held on October 13th at which eighteen persons were present, the By-laws were adopted and officers elected. Colonel Olcott became President, Mme. Blavatsky, Corresponding Secretary, while Mr. Judge was appointed Counsel to the Society. This meeting was adjourned to November 17th, the first regular meeting of the Society at which the President's Inaugural address was delivered.
"Thus the Theosophical Society, first conceived of on the 8th September and constitutionally perfected on the 17th November, 1875, after a gestatory period of over seventy days, came into being and started on its marvellous career of altruistic endeavor . . . . "
Although the physical formation of the Society proceeded as Colonel Olcott has reported it, there were other forces
at work the necessity for some such organization had been anticipated. A note in H.P.B.'s diary says, "Orders received from India direct to establish a philosophico-religious Society and to choose a name for it - also to choose Olcott. (July 1875)" It would appear then, that the birth of the infant organization was not as `unplanned' and `casual' as might appear. The hour had struck, a new cycle was coming into being, the child was born at the appointed time.
"Men cannot all be Occultists, but they can all be Theosophists. Many who have never heard of the Society are Theosophists without knowing it themselves; for the essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonizing of the divine with the human in man, the adjustment of his god-like qualities and aspirations, and their sway over the terrestrial or animal passions in him. Kindness, absence of every ill-feeling or selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings, and perfect justice to others as to one's self, are its chief features. He who teaches
Theosophy, preaches the gospel of goodwill; and the converse is also true - he who preaches the gospel of goodwill teaches Theosophy." - H.P.B.
- First Letter to American Convention.
WHAT IS THEOSOPHY?
This question has been so often asked and misconception so widely prevails, that the editors of a journal devoted to an exposition of the world's Theosophy would be remiss were its first number issued without coming to a full understanding with their readers. But our heading involves two further queries:
What is the Theosophical Society; and what are the Theosophists? To each an answer will be given.
According to lexicographers, the term theosophia is composed of two Greek words - theos, "god," and sophos, "wise." So far, correct. But the explanations that follow are far from giving a clear idea of Theosophy. Webster defines it most originally as "a supposed intercourse with God and superior spirits, and consequent attainment of super-human knowledge, by physical processes, as by the theurgic operations of some ancient Platonists, or by the chemical processes of the German fire-philosophers."
This, to say the least, is a poor and flippant explanation. To attribute such ideas to men like Ammonius Saccas, Plotinus, Jamblichus, Porphyry, Proclus - shows either intentional misrepresentation, or Mr. Webster's ignorance of the philosophy and motives of the greatest geniuses of the later Alexandrian School. To impute to those whom their contemporaries as well as posterity styled "theodidaktoi", god-taught - a purpose to develop their psychological, spiritual perceptions by "physical processes", is to describe them as materialists. As to the concluding fling at the fire-philosophers, it rebounds from them to fall home among our most eminent modern men of science; those, in whose mouths the Rev. James Martineau places the following boast: "matter is all we want; give us atoms alone, and we will explain the universe."
Vaughan offers a far better, more philosophical definition. "A Theosophist," he says - "is one who gives you a theory of God or the works of God, which has not revelation, but an inspiration of his own for its basis." In this view every great thinker and philosopher, especially every founder of a new religion, school of philosophy, or sect, is necessarily a Theosophist. Hence, Theosophy and Theosophists have existed ever since the first glimmering of nascent thought made man seek instinctively for the means of expressing his own independent opinions.
There were Theosophists before the Christian era, notwithstanding that the Christian writers ascribe the development of the Eclectic theosophical system, to the early part of the third century of their Era. Diogenes Leartius traces Theosophy to an epoch antedating the dynasty of the Ptolemies; and names as its founder an Egyptian Hierophant called Pot-Amun, the name being Coptic and signifying a priest consecrated to Amun, the god of Wisdom. But history shows it revived by Ammonius Saccas, the founder of the Neo-Platonic School. He and his disciples called themselves "Philaletheians" - lovers of the truth; while others termed them the "Analogists", on account of their method of interpreting all sacred legends, symbolical myths and mysteries, by a rule of analogy or correspondence, so that events which had occurred in the external world were regarded as expressing operations and experiences of the human soul. It was the aim and purpose of Ammonius to reconcile all sects, peoples and nations under one common faith - a belief in one Supreme Eternal, Unknown, and Unnamed Power, governing the Uni-
verse by immutable and eternal laws. His object was to prove a primitive system of Theosophy, which at the beginning was essentially alike in all countries; to induce all men to lay aside their strifes and quarrels, and unite in purpose and thought as the children of one common mother; to purify the ancient religions, by degrees corrupted and obscured, from all dross of human element, by uniting and expounding them upon pure philosophical principles. Hence, the Buddhistic, Vedantic and Magian, or Zoroastrian, systems were taught in the Eclectic Theosophical School along with all the philosophies of Greece. Hence also, the pre-eminently Buddhistic and Indian feature among the ancient Theosophists of Alexandria, of due reverence for parents and aged persons; a fraternal affection for the whole human race; and a compassionate feeling for even the dumb animals. While seeking to establish a system of moral discipline which enforced upon people the duty to live according to the laws of their respective countries; to exalt their minds by the research and contemplation of the one Absolute Truth; his chief object in order, as he believed, to achieve all others, was, to extract from the various religious teachings, as from a many-chorded instrument, one full and harmonious melody, which would find response in every truth-loving heart.
Theosophy is, then, the archaic Wisdom-Religion, the esoteric doctrine once known in every ancient country having claims to civilization. This "Wisdom" all the old writings show us as an emanation of the divine Principle; and the clear comprehension of it is typified in such names as the Indian Buddh, the Babylonian Nebo, the Thoth of Memphis, the Hermes of Greece; in the appellations, also, of some goddesses -Metis, Neitha, Athena, the Gnostic Sophia, and finally - the Vedas, from the word "to know". Under this designation, all the ancient philosophers of the East and West, the Hierophants ofold Egypt, the Rishis of Aryavart, the Theodidaktoi of Greece, included all knowledge of things occult and essentially divine. The Mercavah of the Hebrew Rabbis, the secular and popular series, were thus designated as only the vehicle, the outward shell which contained the higher esoteric knowledges. The Magi of Zoroaster received instruction and were initiated in the caves and secret lodges of Bactria; the Egyptian and Grecian hierophants had their apporrheta, or secret discourses, during which the Mysta became an Epopta - a Seer.
The central idea of the Eclectic Theosophy was that of a single Supreme Essence, Unknown and Unknowable - for - "How could one know the knower?" as enquires Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Their system was characterized by three distinct features: the theory of the above-named Essence; the doctrine of the human soul - an emanation from the latter, hence of the same nature; and its theurgy. It is this last science which has led the Neo-Platonists to be so misrepresented in our era of materialistic science. Theurgy being essentially the art of applying the divine powers of man to the subordination of the blind forces of nature, its votaries were first termed magicians - a corruption of the word "Magh" signifying a wise or learned man, and derided. Skeptics of a century ago would have been as wide of the mark if they had laughed at the idea of a phonograph or a telegraph. The ridiculed and the "infidels" of one generation generally become the wise men and saints of the next.
As regards the Divine essence and the nature of the soul and spirit, modern Theosophy believes now as ancient Theosophy did. The popular Diu of the
Aryan nations was identical with the Iao of the Chaldeans, and even with the Jupiter of the less learned and philosophical among the Romans; and it was just as identical with the Jahve of the Samaritans, the Tiu or "Tiusco" of the Northmen, the Duw of the Britons, and the Zeus of the Thracians. As to the Absolute Essence, the One and All - whether we accept the Greek Pythagorean, the Chaldean Kabalistic, or the Aryan philosophy in regard to it, it will all lead to one and the same result. The Primeval Monad of the Pythagorean system, which retires into darkness and is itself Darkness (for human intellect) was made the basis of all things; and we can find the idea in all its integrity in the philosophical systems of Leibnitz and Spinoza. Therefore, whether a Theosophist agrees wtih the Kabala which, speaking of En-Soph propounds the query: "Who, then, can comprehend It, since It is formless, and Non-existent?" - or, remembering that magnificent hymn from the Rig-Veda (Hymn 129th, Book 10th)-enquires:
" Who knows from whence this great creation sprang?
Whether his will created or was mute.
He knows it - or perchance even He knows not."
Or, again, accepts the Vedantic conception of Brahma, who in the Upanishads is represented as "without life, without mind, pure," unconscious, for - Brahma is "Absolute Consciousness". Or, even finally, siding with the Svabhavikas of Nepaul, maintains that nothing exists but "Svabhavat" (substance or nature) which exists by itself without any creator - any one of the above conceptions can lead but to pure and absolute Theosophy. That Theosophy which prompted such men as Hegel, Fichte and Spinoza to take up the labors of the old Grecian philosoophers and speculate upon the One Substance-the Deity, the Divine All proceeding from the Divine Wisdom - incomprehensible, unknown and unnamed - by any ancient or modern religious philosophy, with the exception of Christianity and Mohammedanism. Every Theosophist, then, holding to a theory of the Deity "which has not revelation, but an inspiration of his own for its basis," may accept any of the above definitions or belong to any of these religions, and yet remain strictly within the boundaries of Theosophy. For the latter is belief in the Deity as the ALL, the source of all existence, the infinite that cannot be either comprehended or known, the universe alone revealing IT, or, as some prefer it, Him, thus giving a sex to that, to anthropomorphize which is blasphemy. True, Theosophy shrinks from brutal materialization; it prefers believing that, from eternity retired within itself, the Spirit of the Deity neither wills nor creates; but that, from the infinite effulgency everywhere going forth from the Great Centre, that which produces all visible and invisible things is but a Ray containing in itself the generative and conceptive power, which, in its turn, produces that which the Greeks called Macrocosm, the Kabalists Tikkun or Adam Kadmon - the archetypal man, and the Aryans Purusha, the manifested Brahm, or the Divine Male. Theosophy believes also in the Anastasis or continued existence, and in transmigration (evolution) or a series of changes in the soul* which [* In a series of articles entitled "The World's Great Theosophists", we intend showing that from Pythagoras, who got his wisdom in India, down to our best known modern philosophers, and theosophists - David Hume, and Shelley, the English poet - the Spiritists of France included - many believed and yet believe in metempsychosis or reincarnation of the soul; however unelaborated the system of the Spiritists may fairly be regarded.]
can be defended and explained on strict philosophical principles; and only by making a distinction between Paramatma (transcendental, supreme soul) and Jivatma (animal, or conscious soul) of the Vedantins.
To fully define Theosophy, we must consider it under all its aspects. The interior world has not been hidden from all by impenetrable darkness. By that higher intuition acquired by Theosophia - or God-knowledge, which carried the mind from the world of form into that of formless spirit, man has been sometimes enabled in every age and every country to perceive things in the interior or invisible world. Hence the "Samadhi", or Dyan Yog Samadhi, of the Hindu ascetics; the "Daimonionphoti", or spiritual illumination, of the Neo-Platonists; the "Sidereal confabulation of souls", of the Rosicrucians or Fire-philosophers; and, even the ecstatic trance of mystics and of the modern mesmerists and spiritualists, are identical in nature, though various as to manifestation. The search after man's diviner "Self", so often and so erroneously interpreted as individual communion with a personal God, was the object of every mystic, and belief in its possibility seems to have been coeval with the genesis of humanity - each people giving it another name. Thus Plato and Plotinus call "Noetic work" that which the Yogas and the Shrotriya term Vidya. "By reflection, self-knowledge and intellectual discipline, the soul can be raised to the vision of eternal truth, goodness and beauty - that is, to the Vision of God - this is the epopteia" said the Greeks. "To unite one's soul to the Universal Soul", says Porphyry, "requires but a perfectly pure mind. Through self-contemplation, perfect chastity, and purity of body, we may approach nearer to It, and receive, in that state, true knowledge and wonderful insight." And Swami Dayanund Saraswati, who has read neither Porphry nor other Greek authors, but who is a thorough Vedic scholar, says in his Veda Bhashya (opasna prakaru ank. 9), "To obtain diksh (highest initiations) and Yog, one has to practise according to the rules . . . The soul in human body can perform the greatest wonders by knowing the Universal Spirit (or God) and acquainting itself with the properties and qualities (occult) of all the things in the universe. A human being (a Dikshit or initiate) can thus acquire a power of seeing and hearing at great distances." Finally, Alfred R. Wallace, F.R.S., a spiritualist and yet a confessedly great naturalist, says, with brave candour: "It is `spirit' that alone feels, and perceives, and thinks - that acquire knowledge, and reasons and aspires . . . there not unfrequently occur individuals so constituted that the spirit can perceive independently of the corporeal organs of sense, or can, perhaps, wholly or partially, quit the body for a time and return to it again . . . . the spirit . . . communicates with spirit easier than with matter." We can now see how, after thousands of years have intervened between the age of the Gymnosophists* and our own highly civilized era, notwithstanding, or, perhaps, just because of such an enlightenment which pours its radiant light upon the psychological as well as upon the physical realms of nature, over twenty millions of people today believe, under a different form, in those same spiritual powers that were believed in by the Yogins and the Pythagoreans, nearly 3,000 years ago. [* The reality of the Yog-power was affirmed by many Greeks and Roman writers, who call the Yogins Indian Gymnosophists; by Strabo, Lucan, Plutarch, Cicero (Tusculum), Pliny (vii, 2), etc.]
Thus, while the Aryan mystic claimed for himself the power of
solving all the problems of life and death, when he had once obtained the power of acting independently of his body, through the Atman - "self", or "soul"; and the old Greeks went in search of Atmu - the Hidden one, or the God Soul of man, with the symbolical mirror of the Thesmophorian mysteries; - so the spiritualists of today believe in the faculty of the spirits, or the souls of the disembodied persons, to communicate visibly and tangibly with those they loved on earth. And all these, Aryan Yogis, Greek philosophers, and modern spiritualists, affirm that possibility on the ground that the embodied soul and its never embodied spirit - the real self, - are not separated from either the Universal Soul or other spirits by space, but merely by the differentiation of their qualities; as in the boundless expanse of the universe there can be no limitation. And that when this difference is once removed - according to the Greeks and Aryans by abstract contemplation, producing the temporary liberation of the imprisoned Soul; and according to Spiritualists, through mediumship - such a union between embodied and disembodied spirits becomes possible. Thus was it that Patanjali's Yogis and, following in their steps, Plotinus, Porphyry, and other Neo-Platonists, maintained that in their hours of ecstacy, they had been united to, or rather become as one with, God several times during the course of their lives. This idea, erroneous as it may seem in its application to the Universal Spirit, was, and is, claimed by too many great philosophers to be put aside as entirely chimerical. In the case of the Theodidaktoi, the only controvertible point, the dark spot on this philosophy of extreme mysticism, was its claim to, include that which is simply ecstatic illumination, under the head of sensuous perception. In the case of the Yogins, who maintained their ability to see Iswara "face to face", this claim was successfully overthrown by the stern logic of Kapila. As to the similar assumption made for their Greek followers, for a long array of Christian ecstatics, and, finally, for the last two claimants to `God-seeing" within these last hundred years - Jacob Bohme and Swedenborg - this pretension would and should have been philosophically and logically questioned, if a few of our great men of science who are Spiritualists had had more interest in the philosophy than in the mere phenomenalism of Spiritualism.
The Alexandrian Theosophists were divided into neophytes, initiates, and masters, or hierophants; and their rules were copied from the ancient Mysteries of Orpheus, who, according to Herodotus, brought them from India. Ammonius obligated his disciples by oath not to divulge his higher doctrines, except to those who were proved thoroughly worthy and initiated, and who had learned to regard the gods, the angels, and the demons of other peoples, according to the esoteric hyponoia, or under-meaning. "The gods exist, but they are not what the hoi polloi, the uneducated multitude, suppose them to be," says Epicurus. "He is not an atheist who denies the existence of the gods whom the multitude worship, but he is such who fastens on these gods the opinions of the multitude." In his turn, Aristotle declares that of the "Divine Essence pervading the whole world of nature, what are styled the gods are simply the first principles."
Plotinus, the pupil of the "God-taught" Ammonius, tells us, that the secret gnosis or the knowledge of Theosophy, has three degrees - opinion, science, and illumination. "The means or instrument of the first is sense, or perception; of the second, dialectics; of the third, intuition. To the last, reason is subordinate; it is absolute knowledge
founded on the identification of the mind with the object known." Theosophy is the exact science of psychology, so to say; it stands in relation to natural, uncultivated mediumship, as the knowledge of a Tyndall stands to that of a schoolboy in physics. It develops in man a direct beholding; that which Schelling denominates "a realization of the identity of subject and object in the individual"; so that under the influence and knowledge of hyponoia man thinks divine thoughts, views all things as they really are, and finally, "becomes recipient of the Soul of the World", to use one of the finest expressions of Emerson. "I, the imperfect, adore my own perfect" - he says in his superb Essay on the Oversoul. Besides this psychological, or soul-state, Theosophy cultivated every branch of sciences and arts. It was thoroughly familiar with what is now commonly known as mesmerism. Practical theurgy or "ceremonial magic", so often resorted to in their exorcisms by the Roman Catholic clergy - was discarded by the Theosophists. It is but Jamblichus alone who, transcending the other Eclectics, added to Theosophy the doctrine of Theurgy. When ignorant of the true meaning of the esoteric divine symbols of nature, man is apt to miscalculate the powers of his soul, and instead of communing spiritually and mentally with the higher, celestial beings, the good spirits (the gods, of the theurgists of the Platonic school), he will unconsciously call forth the evil, dark powers, which lurk around humanity - the undying, grim creations of human crimes and vices - and thus fall from theurgia (white magic) into goetia (or black magic, sorcery). Yet, neither white nor black magic are what popular superstition understands by the terms. The possibility of "raising spirits" according to the key of Solomon, is the height of superstition and ignorance. Purity of deed and thought can alone raise us to an intercourse "with the gods" and attain for us the goal we desire. Alchemy, believed by so many to have been a spiritual philosophy as well as a physical science, belonged to the teachings of the theosophical school.
It is a noticeable fact that neither Zoroaster, Buddha, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Confucius, Socrates, nor Ammonius Saccas, committed anything to writing. The reason for it is obvious. Theosophy is a double-edged weapon and unfit for the ignorant or the selfish. Like every ancient philosophy, it has its votaries among the moderns; but, until late in our own days, its disciples were few in numbers, and of the most various sects and opinions. "Entirely speculative, and founding no schools, they have still exercised a silent influence upon philosophy; and no doubt, when the time arrives, many ideas thus silently propounded may yet give new directions to human thought" - remarks Mr. Kenneth R.H. Mackenzie IXo . . . himself a mystic and a Theosophist, in his large and valuable work, The Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia (articles "Theosophical Society of New York" and "Theosophy", P. 731).* [* The Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia of History, Rites, Symbolism, and Biography. Edited by Kenneth R.H. Mackenzie IX (Cryptonymus), Hon. Member of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, No. 2, Scotland. New York, J.W. Bouton, 706 Broadway, 1877.] Since the days of the fire-philosophers, they had never formed themselves into societies, for, tracked like wild beasts by the Christian clergy, to be known as a Theosophist often amounted, hardly a century ago, to a death-warrant. The statistics show that, during a period of 150 years, no less than 90,000 men and women were burned in Europe for alleged witchcraft. In great Britain only, from A.D. 1640 to 1660, but twenty years, 3,000
persons were put to death for compact with the "Devil". It was but late in the present century - in 1875 - that some progressed mystics and spiritualists, unsatisfied with the theories and explanations of Spiritualism, started by its votaries, and finding that they were far from covering the whole ground of the wide range of phenomena, formed at New York, America, an association which is now widely known as the Theosophical Society. And now, having explained what is Theosophy, we will, in a separate article, explain what is the nature of our society, which is also called the "Universal Brotherhood of Humanity". (from Vol. I, No. 1, The Theosophist.)
WM. Q. JUDGE
William Q. Judge who acted as Secretary at the preliminary organizational meetings in 1875, was at that time a young lawyer, 24 years of age. He was an unchanging champion of H.P.B. and had her complete confidence, his occult standing being recognized by her. H.P.B. refers to him as `Co-Founder of the Theosophical Society'. His magazine, The Path, established an approach to Theosophy which if it had been followed more widely, would have directed the Society away from the psychic pitfalls which later almost destroyed its effectiveness. In the second number of The Path he wrote, "It may be accepted as almost axiomatic by our members, that if any group or single person has paid undue attention to phenomena, to astralism, psychism, or whatever it is called, there will develop the next trouble or attack upon the Society. It has been authoritatively stated by one of the great Beings who are behind this movement that it must prosper by moral worth and philosophy, and not by phenomena."
When the Esoteric Section was formed, Mr. Judge was appointed H.P.B.'s sole representative in the work in America, "by virtue of his character as a chela of thirteen years' standing and of the trust and confidence reposed in him." She wrote: ". . . . The Esoteric Section and its life in the U.S.A. depend upon W.Q.J. remaining its agent and what he now is. The day W.Q.J. resigns, H.P.B. will be virtually dead for the Americans. W.Q.J. is the Antaskarana between the two Manas (es), the American thought and the Indian - or rather the trans-Himalayan esoteric knowledge."
Mr. Judge became President of the Theosophical Society in 1892 on Colonel Olcott's resignation. Mr. Judge pressed the Colonel to reconsider his decision and finally, after a few months' rest, Colonel Olcott did so and resumed full Presidential duties. Mr. Judge died in 1896 at the age of 45, his demise doubtless being hastened by the stress of the co-called `Judge case', particulars of which appear in Old Diary Leaves, and in greater and fuller detail in The Theosophical Movement U.L.T.
Many members of the Theosophical Society (Adyar) are not aware of the noble and far-reaching contributions made by Mr. Judge to the Theosophical Cause. The United Lodge of Theosophists and the Theosophical Society (Covina) are the two organizations which now present his ideas. The U.L.T. magazine, Theosophy, especially has caught the spirit of his life.
Theosophy in Canada has a link with this wise teacher, as Mr. A.E.S. Smythe who met Mr. Judge on a trans-Atlantic voyage and had long conversations with him on Theosophical matters, founded the Toronto Theosophical Society in 1891, the first Theosophical activity in Canada.
THE FOUNDING OF THE PATH
(A reprint of the first article published by Wm. Q. Judge in Vol. 1, No. 1 of The Path)
This magazine is not intended either to replace or to rival in America The Theosophist, nor any other journal now published in the interest of Theosophy.
Whether we are right in starting it the future alone will determine. To us it appears that there is a field and a need for it in this country. No cultivating of this field is necessary, for it is already ripe.
The Theosophist is the organ of the Theosophical Society, now spread all over the civilized world, its readers and subscribers are everywhere, and yet there are many persons who will not subscribe for it although they are aware of its existence; and furthermore, being an Indian publication, it necessarily follows, because of certain peculiar circumstances, that it cannot be brought to the attention of a large class of persons whom this journal will endeavor to reach.
But while the founders of The Path are Theosophists, they do not speak authoritatively for the Theosophical Society. It is true that had they never heard of Theosophy, or were they not members of the Society, they would not have thought of bringing out this magazine, the impulse for which arose directly from Theosophical teachings and literature.
It is because they are men, and therefore interested in anything concerning the human race, that they have resolved to try on the one hand to point out to their fellows a Path in which they have found hope for man, and on the other to investigate all systems of ethics and philosophy claiming to lead directly to such a path, regardless of the possibility that the highway may, after all, be in another direction from the one in which they are looking. From their present standpoint it appears to them that the true path lies in the way pointed out by our Aryan forefathers, philosophers and sages, whose light is still shining brightly, albeit that this is now Kali Yuga, or the age of darkness.
The solution of the problem "What and Where is the Path to Happiness," has been discovered by those of old time. They thought it was in the pursuit of Raja Yoga, which is the highest science and the highest religion - a union of both. In elaborating this, they wrote much more than we can hope to master in the lifetime of this journal, and they have had many kinds of followers, many devotees, who, while earnestly desiring to arrive at truth, have erred in favor of the letter of the teachings. Such are some of the mendicants of Hindoostan who insist upon the verbal repetition of OM for thousands of times, or upon the practice of postures and breathing alone, forgetting that over all stands the real man, at once the spectator and sufferer by these mistakes. This is not the path.
At the same time we do not intend to slight the results arrived at by others who lived within our own era. They shall receive attention, for it may be that the mind of the race has changed so as to make it necessary now to present truths in a garb which in former times was of no utility. Whatever the outer veil, the truth remains ever the same.
The study of what is now called "practical occultism" has some interest for us, and will receive the attention it may merit, but is not the object of this journal. We regard it as incidental to the journey along the path. The travel-
ler, in going from one city to another, has, perhaps, to cross several rivers; may be his conveyance fails him and he is obliged to swim, or he must, in order to pass a great mountain, know engineering in order to tunnel through it, or is compelled to exercise the art of locating his exact position by observation of the sun; but all that is only incidental to his main object of reaching his destination. We admit the existence of hidden, powerful forces in nature, and believe that every day greater progress is made toward an understanding of them. Astral body formation, clairvoyance, looking into the astral light, and controlling elementals, are all possible, but not all profitable. The electrical current, which, when resisted in the carbon, produces intense light, may be brought into existence by any ignoramus who has the key to the engine room and can turn the crank that starts the dynamo, but is unable to prevent his fellow man or himself from being instantly killed, should that current accidentally be diverted through his body. The control of these hidden forces is not easily obtained, nor can phenomena be produced without danger, and in our view the attainment of true wisdom is not by means of phenomena, but through the development which begins within. Besides that, mankind in the mass are not able to reach to phenomena, while every one can understand right thought, right speech, and right action.
True occultism is clearly set forth in the Bhagavad-Gita and Light on the Path, where sufficient stress is laid upon practical occultism, but after all, Krishna says, the kingly science and the kingly mystery is devotion to and study of the light which comes from within. The very first step in true mysticism and true occultism is to try to apprehend the meaning of Universal Brotherhood, without which the very highest progress in the practice of magic turns to ashes in the mouth.
We appeal, therefore, to all who wish to raise themselves and their fellow creatures - man and beast - out of the thoughtless jog-trot of selfish everyday life. It is not thought that Utopia can be established in a day; but through the spreading of the idea of Universal Brotherhood, the truth in all things may be discovered. Certainly, if we all say that it is useless, that such highly-strung, sentimental notions cannot obtain currency, nothing will ever be done. A beginning must be made, and it has been by the Theosophical Society. Although philanthropic institutions and schemes are constantly being brought forward by good and noble men and women, vice, selfishness, brutality, and the resulting misery, seem to grow no less. Riches are accumulating in the hands of the few, while the poor are ground harder every day as they increase in number. Prisons, asylums for the outcast and the magdalen, can be filled much faster than it is possible to erect them. All this points unerringly to the existence of a vital error somewhere. It shows that merely healing the outside by hanging a murderer or providing asylums and prisons will never reduce the number of criminals nor the hordes of children born and growing up in hot-beds of vice. What is wanted is true knowledge of the spiritual condition of man, his aim and destiny. This is offered to a reasonable certainty in the Aryan literature, and those who must begin the reform are those who are so fortunate as to be placed in the world where they can see and think out the problems all are endeavoring to solve, even if they know that the great day may not come until after their death. Such a study leads us to accept the utterance of Prajapati to his sons: `Be restrained, be liberal, be merciful;" it is the death of selfishness.
BREADTH, CALMNESS AND STRENGTH
- A.E.S. Smythe
A movement which takes Theosophy - Divine Wisdom - as its inspiration should be distinguished by something of the broad inclusiveness, something of the calm, something of the strength and endurance, that we find in Space, in Time, in the Eternal Motion of the Universe. Everything in the Universe has its place. Nothing is cast to the void. There are vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor, but they are self-elected, self-determined in their degree. The Eternal Will has allotted them freedom. Can we do less? A movement aiming to promote the spirit of brotherhood, aiming indeed to form a nucleus of brotherhood, is in no case to make distinctions of race, creed, sex, caste or color. Yet, even in the Theosophical movement, such distinctions have been influential, and a difference of point of view, an ethical prejudice, a racial antipathy, a social disinclination, an intellectual discord, have been found sufficient to establish conditions of separation and non-intercourse between bodies professedly Theosophical.
A proclamation drawn up in 1895, based on earlier records, offers "fraternal goodwill and kindly feeling toward all students of Theosophy and members of Theosophical Societies wherever and however situated. It further proclaims and avers its hearty sympathy and association with such persons and organizations in all Theosophical matters except those of government and administration, and invites their correspondence and cooperation. To all men and women of whatever caste, creed, race, or religious belief, who aim at the fostering of peace, gentleness, and unselfish regard one for another, and the acquisition of such knowledge of men and nature as shall tend to the elevation and advancement of the human race, it sends most friendly greeting and freely proffers its services. It joins hands with all religions and religious bodies whose efforts are directed to the purification of men's thoughts and the bettering of their ways, and it avows its harmony therewith. To all scientific societies and individual searchers after wisdom upon whatever plane, and by whatever righteous means pursued, it is, and will be, grateful for such discovery and unfoldment of Truth as shall serve to announce and confirm a scientific basis for ethics. And, lastly, it invites to its membership those who, seeking a higher life hereafter, would learn to know the path to tread in this."
The ideals voiced here remain for realization by all genuine and devoted Theosophists. It is not too high an ideal for the Theosophical Society in Canada. No ideal is too high for him who loves and seeks Theosophy.
Religious, or, at least, sectarian prepossessions are probably the most difficult to eradicate. They are usually rooted in the personality, the lower egotistic consciousness, always fearful of losing its temporal footing, lacking confidence in the Eternal verities. It is difficult, therefore to bring together bodies of people accustomed to split hairs in theological controversy, as the many efforts towards church union sufficiently show. The greater aim of bringing together in human cooperation the followers of the different great religions, all trained more or less to regard each other as founded on error, must seem almost hopeless. Such hopelessness is the result of the petty impatience of the personality which sees only seventy years before the night
comes when no man can work. The Self, which remains and returns again, knows that its millenial striving has due effect, and it is not troubled about immediate results. Petty minds seek an end. There is no end in the Eternal. Unfolding Life, forever new, forever free, is the immediate secret. The pulse of the Eternal never ceases to beat. The Divine Heart never ceases to transmute its mysteries into magical dreams of form and color.
Our differences are in our dreams, the illusions of our day-to-day conceit arid ignorance and fear. When we pass beyond these and begin to understand the vast symbolisms of the Divine Life in the universe, we approach the secret of secrets in the central Invisible Heart that would make us all one in its Love and Wisdom. - (from Vol I, No. 1 The Canadian Theosophist.)
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Subscription: Two Dollars a Year
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
N.W.J. Haydon, 564 Pape Ave., Toronto, Ont.
Miss M. Hindsley, 745 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Ont.
George I. Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Avenue, Toronto, Ont.
Peter Sinclair, 4941 Wellington St., Verdun, Quebec
Washington E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C.
Emory P. Wood, 12207 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, Alta.
Lt.-Col E.L. Thomson, D.S.O., 54 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
To whom all payments should be made, and all official communications addressed
EDITORIAL BOARD, CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
All Letters to the Editor, Articles and Reports for Publication should be sent to The Editor: Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ont.
Printed by the Griffin & Richmond Printing Co., Ltd., 29 Rebecca Street, Hamilton, Ontario
THE COVER DESIGN
We are very much indebted to Mr. Eric Aldwinckle for the impressive cover design of this anniversary number. Mr. Aldwinckle has succeeded excellently well in creating a symbolism which is dynamic and evocative, clean-cut in its encompassing simplicity, timeless - it is as old as the ages and yet as modern as this instant. The root-idea from which it was born was `Order out of Chaos'; the following quotation from a letter from K.H. which it portrays so strikingly was not discovered until later - ". . . then, on the bosom of the `Great Deep' attracting within itself the One Circle - form out of it the perfect Square, . . . "
Mr. Aldwinckle, who is very well known in Canadian art circles, is the author of the recently published book Two Fables which has received such favorable comment in the press and which was reviewed in last month's magazine.
We are delighted to be able to announce that the book H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings (1883) is now available. It had been hoped to have this ready some time ago, but unexpected difficulties delayed its final appearance.
This volume will be part of a uniform edition which will contain the entire literary output of H.P. Blavatsky, much of which has not heretofore been readily obtainable. This initial volume contains 448 pages and index with illustrations. The price is $6.00. A supply has been ordered by Mr. E.B. Dustan, Book Steward, Toronto Theosophical Society, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ont., or copies may be ordered direct from,
"Theosophia" 136 No. Catalina St., Los Angeles 4, California.
THE ESOTERIC SECTION
In September 1888, Madame Blavatsky published in Lucifer an article entitled The Meaning of the Pledge, the first public announcement of the formation of an Esoteric Section in the Society. A portion of this article is reproduced hereunder:
"It has been thought advisable that members of a certain Occult Lodge of the T.S. should have the meaning of the Pledge they are about to take laid before them as plainly as possible. At any rate, that those who have previously signed the Pledge shall lay before those who are about to do so all that they understand this Pledge to mean and what its signature involves.
"The Pledge runs as follows:
1. I pledge myself to endeavor to make Theosophy a living factor in my life.
2. I pledge myself to support, before the world, the Theosophical movement, its leaders and its members.
3. I pledge myself never to listen without protest to any evil thing spoken of a Brother Theosophist and to abstain from condemning others.
4. I pledge myself to maintain a constant struggle against my lower nature, and to be charitable to the weaknesses of others.
5. I pledge myself to do all in my power, by study or otherwise, to fit myself to help and teach others.
6. I pledge myself to give what support I can to the movement in time, money, and work. So Help Me, My Higher Self."
"It is at once plain that this is not a general Pledge like that which is taken so lightly by members of the Theosophical Society; but that it is a specific undertaking to do and to endeavor to do certain things. Also that it is given under an invocation: -
" `So Help Me, My Higher Self'."
"The terms `Higher Self' has recently come into considerable use - at any rate so far as the Theosophical Society is concerned. To those who have studied the meaning of the words it is at once evident that `to take an oath' in the ordinary fashion of Christians is much less serious than a Pledge in the presence of the `Higher Self'."
"The `Higher Self', moreover, is not a sort of sublimated essence of any one man; a sort of spiritualized `personality'. It is universal and secondless and in such a sense the term, `my Higher Self' seems misplaced. But every man, however dimly, is a manifestation of the Higher Self, and it is by the connection of the Jiva, the Monad, with the secondless `Higher Self' that it is possible to use the term. What then does the invocation mean?"
"The man who takes this Pledge in the right spirit calls upon It, and calls every help and blessing from It to his assistance. By an intense desire to be under Its protection he (though It per se is latent and passive) places himself under the protection of the active and beneficent powers that are the direct rays of the Absolute Higher Secondless Self."
"But if a man takes this Pledge and betrays his Higher Self, he risks every evil and brings it upon himself. Thus then, he who remains true to the Pledge has nothing to fear; but he who has no confidence in himself to keep the Pledge when taken, had better leave it and, much more leave Occultism alone."
The article goes on to discuss each pledge and to point out the vital importance of there being in the Society men and women who are not content to assume only the nominal requirements of membership, but who have pledged themselves by a most sacred oath to make Theosophy itself a living power in their daily lives. This article was followed by another in December 1888, "Is Denunciation a Duty?" in which one of the Pledges is discussed further. (See Canadian Theosophist, Feb. 1950).
In H.P.B.'s life, the period between 1886 and 1891 was one of great productivity: The Secret Doctrine, The Key to Theosophy, The Voice of the Silence and a steady stream of articles for her magazine, Lucifer, for Mr. Judge's The Path and for The Theosophist, the formation of the Esoteric Section and the compilation of its Rules and Instructions to its members, took up every moment of her waking hours. Her physical body had almost served its purpose but in spite of its weakness, she worked with extraordinary energy to fulfil her mission before ever-nearing Death uttered his undeniable command.
The formation of the Esoteric Section was a desperate attempt to gather together a few persons who would pledge themselves absolutely to the cause of the Theosophical Movement, who on her passing would `keep the link unbroken' and who would be faithful unto death to the Message which she had brought. The Pledge sets up some of the requirements for the most sacred of all human relationships, that between disciple and the master. The word `desperate' above was used after consideration - it does describe the state of emergency which H.P.B. foresaw, her almost reckless disregard of the consequences which would devolve upon her if this extreme measure failed. The disciple-master relationship is not casual; it comes into being after its seed time and long processes of unfolding before blossoming into that complete, utter transparency of the minds and hearts of two individuals, the `father' and the `son'. In the hope that a few at least of those who were pledged would be faithful, H.P.B. weighed the dangers of prematurely disclosing inner teachings to those who were unaware of the requirements of the occult discipline, against the possibility that one or two at least might win through - and took the chance. To what extent the desperate gamble succeeded may be inferred from the actions and words of many of the prominent members during the tragic years of 1892-95 when a modicum of the brotherliness, restraint and integrity required by the Pedge might have saved the Society from disruption.
In the article above quoted the 7th Pledge and a portion of the 3rd were omitted. The 3rd Pledge read: "I pledge myself to support before the world, the Theosophical movement, its leaders and its members; and in particular to obey, without cavil or delay, the orders of the Head of the Esoteric Section in all that concerns my relation with the Theosophical movement."
The latter portion of this pledge has been a source of difficulty both inside and outside the E.S. Its form has been changed several times, but each time, except on one occasion, the power given to the Head of the E.S. has not been diminished. One of the problems has been to distinguish between the `Theosophical Movement' and the "Theosophical Society." Far-reaching powers have been placed in the hands of the head of the E.S., and while assurances have been given that the pledge has not been used to control the policies or politics of the Society, obvious interferences in such matters have nullified the effects of such assurances.
The Esoteric Section as constituted under H.P.B., died with her in 1891, a
fact recognized by both Mr. Judge and Mrs. Besant who were appointed to joint charge. An E.S. circular of the period reads; - "Consider the position of the School; we are no longer a band of students taught by a visible Teacher; we are a band of students mutually interdependent, forced to rely on each other for our usefulness and our progress, until our very brotherliness in mutual help shall draw a visible Teacher back among us."
After the break with Mr. Judge, Mrs. Besant carried on as Outer Head of the E.S. among the Adyar members. In 1899 new rules and regulations were issued and some of the secret instructions of the original Section were published by her as part of the 3rd volume of The Secret Doctrine.
Several of the Societies which came into being after 1895 had Esoteric Sections of their own and some of these have continued until the present. Years ago Mrs. Besant closed the Adyar Esoteric Section and so far as the writer is aware, it was never formally reconstituted. The present Adyar E.S. has now been incorporated as a body separate from the Society.
That there is an esotericism in Theosophy is obvious to all who have studied the literature. Whether the arcana can be penetrated more readily by joining an organization and by pledging unquestioning obedience to some other person, is a question whose answer must depend on the temperament of the student. "Esoteric" means "Inner". In the Theosophical Movement there is a body of esotericists, pledged to no outside power, belonging to no esoteric society, but who through unity of aim, namely, meditation on the inner content of the Theosophical Message, have passed from the outer to the inner circles and have become `Comrades of the Way' with all those of every age and race who are aware that,
". . . `to know'
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without."
THE FLOWING TIDES
It was not the stormy seas of Theosophical history which brought the above title to mind but two tides in Theosophical affairs, first, the ebbtide that drained out the energies of the Society after the death of H.P.B. leaving mudflats where many feet were caught in the mire and second, the now returning tide as the clean waters of Theosophical thought moves slowly shoreward, surrounding first and then rising higher to cover shoals and sandbanks of human ignorance and superstition. Perhaps on this 75th anniversary when thoughts naturally turn to the future, it is fitting also to take `a backward glance o'er travel'd roads' to help chart our course for the years to come.
The death of H.P.B. on May 8th 1891 aroused among the members a deeper sense of individual responsibility and of consecration to the Cause and united them in a determination to carry on the work along the lines which had been laid down by her. Unfortunately this decision was not adhered to. The ebbtide began and the stormy period of 1892-95 ended with the withdrawal of the majority of the Lodges in the United States and the formation of the inde-
pendent and autonomous "Theosophical Society in America". A group of Engish members withdrew at the same time and also formed a separate Society.
It is not possibe to give here any clear picture of the tangled threads and tortuous paths leading to these events. Those who are interested are referred to the various books on Theosophical history. If in their reading of this literature, they can find their way to the truth through the maze of contradictory evidence and special pleading, and can with clear eyes perceive the still white flame of Theosophy, even through the bitter smoke and dull red flames of that period, they need hardly be apprehensive of any greater trial of their Theosophical faith in this incarnation. It was tragedy. Internecine warfare flamed in the pitifully small group which of all mankind, had vowed itself to Universal Brotherhood, and the whole body was wounded and suffered. The scar tissues of the wounds still remain; the severed parts have not reunited.
After the death of Mr. Judge in 1896, the fragmenting process continued among the Theosophists in America. In the Adyar Society the ebbtide flowed on and over the next thirty-five years numerous crises arose, each of which left the membership fewer in its numbers and depleted in its quality. Many prominent members dropped out, including some members in the Inner Council of the E.S. Some of the crises came about over administrative matters; the majority resulted from the abandonment of the ancient teachings which had been reproclaimed by H.P.B. and by the introduction of new teachings at variance with them. The Society passed through an era when, in the words of W. H. Auden,
" Fresh addenda are published every day
To the encyclopedia of the way."
The new teachings were, for the most part, the work of C.W. Leadbeater, a Church of England curate with psychic leanings, who for fifty years exercised great influence in the Society and over its then president Mrs. Annie Besant. His ecclesiastical tendencies led to the 'return of the Christ, the Coming World Saviour,' movement and to the formation of the Liberal Catholic Church. Mr. Leadbeater became a Bishop in the Church, accepting and defending its claims to Apostolic Succession. The divergence from H.P.B. may be noted from her words, "The present volumes have been written to small purpose if they have not shown . . . that apostolic succession is a gross and palpable fraud." (Isis Unveiled) This movement and the attempt to impose a creed upon the Society led to the greatest of the mass withdrawals. Thousands of members, disillusioned and in despair, dropped their membership. Some were `through with Theosophy for life'; many others would echo the words of Edouard Schure, author of The Great Initiates, in his letter of resignation, `In fulfilling this painful duty, I am conscious of remaining true to the spirit of eternal and universal theosophy, with the certainty that it will one day emerge triumphant from its temporary eclipse."
The psychic faculty is one of the many latent powers which will be awakened as mankind progresses, but H.P.B. constantly warned of `the terrible dangers, both mental and bodily' which are inevitably associated with its premature development. Only two years before her death she wrote The Voice of the Silence whose opening words are, "These instructions are for those ignorant of the dangers of the lower Iddhi" (psychic faculties). The psychic who cannot rise above the lower planes, materializes any spiritual truth he touches upon; his reliance upon a sense, even though it be a `sixth sense' inhibits the
intuitional faculty. He has no awareness of the imponderable, the implicit, the imperceptible in the approach to Truth. He must see, hear, touch; like Thomas of old he must thrust his hand into the body of Christ in order to be assured of reality - unlike Thomas, he is compelled to keep it there because of his continuing necessity for outer assurances.
The psychic pall which descended upon the Society has not yet been dissipated. Mr. Leadbeater, though he had no creative ability, had a lively imagination in things occult and had a very lucid style of writing. Many Adyar members still regard his `psychic revelations' as being Theosophy. These teachings, of course, are not accepted by the other Theosophical Societies; the adherence of the Adyar members to them and the tacit rejection of H.P.B.'s teachings, constitutes the greatest barrier to active cooperation between the Societies.
The psychic era will pass - even now it is difficult to interest intelligent young people in the vagaries of lower psychism. Historians of the vaster cycles through which the Movement will pass, will doubtless evaluate this period as one pertaining to the adolescence of the Movement.
That the ebbtide has now turned is evident from many signs. As Mr. Jinarajadasa has pointed out, seventy-five years ago there were only sixteen persons in the Society. Today, hundreds of thousands of persons are interested in the teachings and many Societies are proclaiming one or another phase of Theosophical thought. Theosophical ideas are commonly encountered in newspapers, magazines and plays. The principle, recently affirmed by Mr. Jinarajadasa of dissociating the Society from the various extraneous
movements which had grown up within its ranks must be regarded as a desirable and constructive move. Mr. Boris de Zirkoff, editor of Theosophia, which gives equal publicity to the three principal Theosophical Societies, in his work of collecting and publishing the entire literary output of H.P.B., is contributing greatly to the Movement. The appearance of two new magazines must also be noted. The New Outlook, a magazine of non-sectarian Theosophical thought and published by a group of independent Theosophists, is carrying the ancient message to many persons who are not members of any Society. Manas is another forerunner of the new spirit; its editors are unknown to us; it is not published with the avowed intention of spreading Theosophy, but to a greater degree than any other publication it is acting as the Antaskarana between the East and West and its clean-cut, objective thinking on modern problems in terms of the ancient wisdom, must be regarded as one of the more important bits of evidence of the slowly rising tide. The mind of the race is being prepared for the next cycle.
It is to be expected that problems will always be present in Theosophical organizations. Persons of varying degrees of unfoldment will exert their influence on the societies of their day; ambition, partizanship, sectarianism, psychism, will from time to time divert the Societies from the main course. The disunion of the Overself "Theosophy" and its lower vehicles, the Societies, may produce schizophrenic attributes of varying intensities. But the Theosophical Movement will go forward from strength to strength until humanity has awakened from the illusion of separateness, and the one little seed, the nucleus, has become, the one Universal Brotherhood of all mankind.
"Cast No One Out of Your Heart."
- Wm. Q. Judge.
--- inside rear cover
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
The Theosophical Society was formed at New York in 1875. It has three objects:
1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.
3. To investigate the unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.
The Society affords a meeting place for students who have three aims in common, first, the ideal of Universal Brotherhood; second, the search for Truth, and third, a desire to associate and work with other men and women having similar aims and ideals. The acceptance of the First Object is required of all those who desire to become members; whether or not a member engages actively in the work contemplated in the Second and Third Objects is left to his or her discretion.
The nature and purposes of the Society preclude it from having creeds or dogmas, and freedom of thought and expression among its members is encouraged. An official statement on this point is; " . . . . there is no opinion, by whomsoever taught or held, that is in any way binding on any member of the Society, none of which a member is not free to accept or reject." The statement calls upon the members "to maintain, defend, and act upon this fundamental principle . . . and fearlessly to exercise his own right of liberty of thought and of expression thereof within the limits of courtesy and consideration for others."
Theosophy or `Divine Wisdom' is that body of ancient truths relating to the spiritual nature of man and the universe which has found expression down through the ages in religions, philosophies, sciences, the arts, mysticism, occultism and other systems of thought. Theosophy is not the exclusive possession of any one organization. In the modern Theosophical Movement, these ancient truths have been restated and an extensive literature on the subject has come into being. The teachings are not put forward for blind belief; they are to be accepted only if the truth that is in them finds an echo in the heart. Each student should by `self induced and self-devised' methods establish his own Theosophy, his own philosophy of life. The Movement encourages all students of Theosophy to become self-reliant, independent in thought, mature in mind and emotions and, above all other things to work for the welfare of mankind to the end that humanity as a whole may become aware of its diviner powers and capabilities.