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Vol. XXXII., No. 1 Toronto, March 15th, 1951 Price 20 Cents
FROM THE "PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS"
75th Anniversary Convention of The Theosophical Society, Adyar, December 26, 1950
By C. Jindarajadasa
We know from the historical material concerning The Theosophical Society, that its foundation was due to certain Eastern Adepts called Mahatmas. Two Adepts in special, Mahatma Morya and Mahatma Koot Hoomi, undertook to initiate a movement which would light again in the West the Lamp of Truth that had been extinguished after the disappearance of Gnostic teachings. These two Adepts mention how They selected two persons, one Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and the other Henry Steel Olcott, to lead a "Forlorn Hope." When asked in 1881 what the Adepts meant by the term "Forlorn Hope," the answer was:
"When one regards the magnitude of the task to be undertaken by our theosophical volunteers, and especially the multitudinous agencies arrayed, and to be arrayed, in opposition, we may well compare it to one of those desperate efforts against overwhelming odds that the true soldier glories to attempt."
The success of that attempt called a Forlorn Hope is seen this day at the 75th Anniversary Convention of our Society. Our great leader, H.P.B., foresaw what difficulties she and her colleague, H.S. Olcott, and those who joined them, would have to face. She saw equally how, all difficulties surmounted, the end would be crowned with triumph. This vision of hers is pictorially and graphically illustrated on the first page of the Scrapbooks which she started, to paste cuttings of all that appeared in newspapers about the Society. I have reproduced in color the first page of her Scrapbook No. I. H.P.B.'s pictorial setting reads:
"Ante and Post Natal History of The Theosophical Society and the Tribulations, Mortifications and TRIUMPHS of its Fellows."
I am in touch with large numbers of members of the Society throughout the world, who write to me periodically. In nearly every case they express their deep gratitude to the theosophical teachings. They say that but for these teachings they hardly know in what manner they could endure the troubles of life. For many of us, particularly after our youth has passed, life is more a harassment than an enjoyment. The problem then is how to face our Karma so that
we may not completely succumb under its stress. It is here that Theosophy gives to the individual an element of courage which he has not been able to find in the cult of his religion, whether Hinduism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, or any other. It is this supreme element of courage that is characteristic of the great ideas of Theosophy, when they are incorporated into a man's inmost consciousness.
But this incorporation does not take place merely by reading theosophical books. The identification with the truths of Theosophy is only possible when a member works with others, as in a Lodge. The ideal Lodge is not concentrated on the individual salvation of its members, but is always busy planning to understand the various departments of the Wisdom of Theosophy, in order to pass on that knowledge to others. It is, when there is a keen desire in the heart of a Theosophist to share his knowledge with others who have not that knowledge, that little by little the element of courage enters into his life. This has happened in the case of thousand's of Theosophists, who therefore feel an immense gratitude not only to Theosophy, but to the Society, to which in many cases they have given more than half their lives.
The work throughout the world would proceed far more rapidly if we had more lecturers in each country. Those who have done that work in past years have either pasesd out of this incarnation or are too old for further lecturing. It is here that we are hoping that the Young Theosophists will take up the work of propaganda. But in order to succeed in giving the message of Theosophy to the public, the Young Theosophists need to study Theosophy, for if they are to work as lecturers they must have a good background of knowledge of the theosophical philosophy.
I want now to touch briefly upon some of the activities which have been developed by our leaders and others under the inspiration of the theosophical ideals, during the three-quarters of a century since the Society's founding.
One activity of the greatest importance is the Adyar Library. This institution was founded by Colonel Olcott in 1886, especially to collect rare manuscripts and preserve them from destruction. But the institution has developed beyond his dream, because since 1910 it has been publishing a series of works with Sanskrit texts and translations into English. The number of the latest publication is No. 76. If the Adyar Library had more funds, it could publish about eight new works a year. Authors are only too eager that their manuscripts should be published by the Adyar Library, which has now a great reputation among the Orientalist institutions of the world.
During the past twenty-five years and more, Theosophists in many lands have organized themselves to work in various activities. The most prominent is that for Education. It was in 1880 that the President-Founder, Colonel Olcott, first organized Buddhist schools for Buddhist children in Ceylon. Soon after Dr. Besant arrived in India, she urged Indian members to start schools with the usual Government curricula, but adding religious instruction, and the managment to be composed of Theosophists and others who sympathized. Many schools were established, the most famous of all of these institutions being the Central Hindu High School with Dr. Arundale as Headmaster, to which was later added the well-known Central Hindu College, with him as Principal. Another school under Theosophical auspices, with nearly all the teachers devoted Theosophists, was started in Madras and located at Guindy, half a mile from our headquarters. This school was later transferred to Rishi Valley, near Mada-
napalle, to work under the direction of Mr. J. Krishnamurti's followers. A Theosophical College had already been started at Madanapalle under the management of the Theosophical Educational Trust founded in 1913. Colonel Olcott started in 1894 the first school for Harijans, once called Panchamas. This school is named now Olcott Memorial School. The President of the Society in his personal capacity is President of the Trust and Chairman of the Board of the Olcott Memorial School.
There is the Besant Theosophical School at Adyar, under the general direction of the Basant Centenary Trust, though its Director is Srimati Rukmini Devi. A few years ago the Indian Section at Banaras started the Besant Theosophical School, which is doing excellently. As a part of these activities towards the application of theosophical truths to life, there is the well-known institution of Kalakshetra, with its training in Music, Dance and the Arts, directed by Srimati Rukmini Devi.
The creation of a World Federation of Young Theosophists in 1925 was definitely an initiative in connection with our work of theosophical propaganda. It gave special opportunities to the young who are attracted to Theosophy to express their devotion to the great Cause, according to the manner of their imagination. In several countries the Young Theosophists have groups of their own, with their own meetings. They work in complete cooperation with the elders in the Lodges. They have given much help in many, many ways.
One of the most valuable of these activities is that of the Theosophical Book Association for the Blind in the United States, which transcribes into Braille as many theosophical works as means allow and also publishes a magazine for the blind. The Association now has a small building and press of its own at Krotona. Many Theosophists in various parts of the country, both blind and sighted, are transcribing theosophical works into Braille. This work has been directed for many years by Mrs. Flavia B. Snyder.
Coming now to the International Headquarters of our Society at Adyar, an important initiation in connection with our theosophical work was the inauguration of the School of the Wisdom on November 17, 1949. I have issued a pamphlet explaining what are the ideals which I have concerning this School, and in what manner Theosophists should understand the meaning of the word Wisdom. Its many aspects had been studied, in ancient India, and also in the Platonic School of Greece.
In 1947 I created a special fund in commemoration of the centenary of the birth of our second President, Dr. Besant. The fund is now called Adyar Besant Commemorative Fund, or for short, A.B.C. Fund. For many years the Society has always had a deficit in its working expenses, since the annual dues from the Sections cover only about one-sixth of the actual running expenses of the International Headquarters. Part of the income derives from the rents of rooms and buildings occupied by the workers, and another part from the generous donations of members from all parts of the world. But it is not a sound policy to go on from year to year with a deficit. In visualizing a day when the administration of the International Headquarters would be conducted without a deficit, I created the A.B.C. Fund, which is very slowly mounting to the goal I hoped for. In the meantime the capital fund is kept intact, not being used for current expenses, but interest from it is most valuable in meeting our mounting expenses from taxation on our Headquarters' property, and increased wages all round to workers. I invite the attention of generous members to keep this fund in mind, not only for present
donations, but especially to leave to the Society legacies to be added to the A.B.C. Fund.
In The Mahatma Letters the Society is often referred to as the "Parent Society." After the founding of the Society in New York, the two, H.S. Olcott and H.P. Blavatsky, who alone in these Letters are called "The Founders," settled in Bombay till 1882, and finally the Theosophical Headquarters was permanently located here at Adyar. Several other Theosophical Societies have branched off from the Parent Theosophical Society, and some of these still exist, though they certainly have not the strength of the Parent Society, but all work devotedly for the ideals of Theosophy. Their separation has been due largely to the attachment to various personalities they have looked upon as leaders.
The question is often mooted: Why should not the various divisions of The Theosophical Society coalesce to make one Society to do the work of propaganda for Brotherhood more effectively? But it does not at all follow that such a union will in any way promote Brotherhood. The Parent Society particularly emphasizes the need of Universal Brotherhood and is trying in various ways to express it; the other theosophical groups are doing the work of propaganda to disseminate theosophical ideas. So long as that is being done, what does it matter that it is done by different organizations, each according to its own manner of working, expressing its own loyalties? Indeed, it is a high tribute to the intensity of the theosophical ideas that they should delevop the characters of individual Theosophists in such a marked manner that they feel compelled to work in their own ways as distinct groups.
It is the invariable story in the development of a great religion or a great philosophy that several variants, churches, or philosophical schools should arise with the passage of time. What is called sectarianism, though seemingly regrettable, is unavoidable and does not matter, so long as each group keeps to the high ideas given by the Founder of each religion or the great philosopher, and tries to pass on the message. The variants are indeed a testimony to the vigour of the original body of teachings which are like a great river that inevitably flows into the ocean through many mouths.
I personally see no disadvantage in the existence of many Theosophical Societies. Seeing that human nature is what it is, invariably swayed by loyalties to certain leaders, those loyalties will not be abolished by any kind of union, among the different groups. In the United States a conference has been aptly defined as "A number of people, failing to agree individually, meet collectively to decide that agreement is impossible." What is important is not what are considered internal divisions, but that each separated group should be active in trying to spread the principles of Theosophy. Trying to make any kind of a union of the various groups is largely a waste of energies which could be better spent. So long as each Theosophical Society is busy at its work of disseminating the Theosophical ideas and does not waste time in criticizing the way in which other Societies do their work, the promotion of the First Object of Brotherhood is in no way minimized.
What of the future? What are the lines of work along which the Society should expand? It is imposible to outline what further modes of work we should embark upon. From year to year the world's needs change, and it is for us to see in what manner we can help, first our own country and then humanity as a whole. The members in each country must observe the local condi- (Continued on Page 10)
THEOSOPHY IN ACTION
By Roy Mitchell
For the first time now I am at a loss to find kindly words for one of the distortions which is creeping into our Theosophical Society, a distortion which will sooner than any other reduce us to the level of a sect and destroy in us every vestige of that detachment which is the peculiar flower of true occultism.
There was a saying current in the early days that the moment the Society became a sect it would from that moment have failed of its high purpose. Our problem then is to avoid those things which would make it a sect. One of them would be the mood in which Theosophists would claim to be the vehicle of an exclusive revelation. A second arising out of this would be the feeling that the Theosophical Society had something which made it superior to all other occult systems. A third, the converse of the second, would inevitably be that those outside our Society were in some measure inferior, or were at least beyond the circle of the elect, and would not be allowed to participate in certain desirable things, as for example, the welcoming of a World Saviour. Another potent means towards making a sect of the Society would be that mood in its leaders which would persuade them to compound an error in teaching on the ground that there would be more harm in acknowledging the error, than there would be benefit in declaring the truth. There are many other and lesser things that would make us a sect: the development of a hierarchy of presbyters, and shepherds who for vanity or love of power or for any of the pretexts for which individuals vampirize upon a body, have clung to their offices beyond their term of usefulness.
All of these must be dealt with on principle as they may arise. We cannot successfully make rules for them. There is one growing tendency, however, of so gross a nature that it can be dealt with by rule as soon as we are clear-minded and courageous enough to deal with it. It is the offence that contributes most generously to all these others and decently free from which I think sectarianism could make little headway among us. It is the offence of degrading Theosophy into a means of livelihood.
It shows itself in various ways: in the fee taken by some of our speakers, in the custom of having salaried executives and officials, and in the more common custom of private subvention, by which a wealthy enthusiast pays a lecturer a stipend. Today in America it is the custom to ask a lecturer what fee he requires or what proportion of the collection he is accustomed to receive.
I am only slightly concerned here with what happens to the man who takes pay for his Theosophical work, except to record the inevitable deterioration of his spiritual powers that follows on any attempt to play his vision of truth against his daily necessities. Sooner or later he will learn, unless indeed he fall into left-hand magic, that to become a professiorial occultist in however small a measure does not set him free to devote himself to God, as the pious phrase has it, but binds him all the more to see God through a fantastic lens of timidity, petty expediency, of ambition, of passion, of resentment of criticism and of fear of loss. He will learn that it is wise to keep these two elements of livelihood and of truth-telling separate lest his desires defile truth; lest he be tempted for too small cause to fulfil his ambitions or slake his lusts at the cost of the Theosophical Society.
I am much more immediately con-
cerned with another aspect of it - ours as members of the Society. There is room for argument about the precise nature of the wrong he does himself and those about him. For us, pledged to make the best of this great inquiry after truth, it only means that the man who is incapable of earning his living and of finding time for the service of the Society is not a big enough man for any of the posts we have to fill. He is a little one-track fellow who is practising the love of God for money, and for our purposes is no better than the woman who practises the love of man for the same commodity. For all his skill as lecturer or executive, he is none the less a cut lower on the moral side than those of our people who, whatever their capacity, earn their bread elsewhere and come clean to the Society with nothing to serve but its welfare and honesty.
Our Theosophical Society offers no career for a first-rate man. It is not a business. It is a philanthropy. The men who are good enough for our work will be beyond our power to pay. With all the fields of commerce, learning, the arts, government, the professions, open before him, the man of any stature will be the one who can make his way in one of them and, having achieved something, offer it to the Society as his gift, giving Theosophy the weight and distinction of his accomplishment, championing its principles in the minds of men.
There are things it is lawful for a worker to take when he is on actual service, and things he can take without hurt to himself or to us - his food, his bed and his journey money to the next town - and these only when he is on service. What, then, someone asks, if he give up his whole time to the work? Its he not entitled to his whole support? I do not think he should give up his whole time here in the Society, even if he can afford it. Sacerdotalism lies that way. We are a community of laymen and it is implicit in Theosophy that there is as much virtue in carrying its principles into our effort in the world as there is in carrying our efforts into Theosophy. We are at our highest efficiency when we carry both and certainly at our greatest dignity.
If we set it up as our minimum measure of a man that he be able to earn his bread and fulfil his office in the Society we might not get things so well done. We might not get so much done, but after all so many of the things we now get done might as well go by default. I think we would get the essential things better done. There might be less of headquarters activity, but there would be for that very reason a greater focus in the many centres in which Theosophy must grow. We might have fewer imprimaturs and nihil obstats to lean upon, but we might be compensated by a greater freedom of interpretation of the clues to truth we now have and a greater autonomy in our actions. Clinging to office might wane a little if it were recognized as a disgrace to live upon the Society or upon wealthy devotees, and freed of the burden of carrying holy men on their salary lists our affluent members might put their money into publishing, into building and the forms of Theosophic beneficence which stain nobody.
So we might come at last to slough off our rice-Christians and leave them to practice their trade of simony in little cults of their own where people do not value the nice distinction between the man who makes his livelihood work for Theosophy and the man who makes Theosophy work for his livelihood.
Then, taking our stand firmly as fine amateurs in religion, and satisfying the world that we have no other motive than the service of truth, we would possess a distinction that could transform all the grubby little upper rooms in which we meet into temples of the God. And we
could convince men as Paul convinced them: 'Ye, yourselves, know that these hands have ministered unto my necessities . . . For ye remember our labor and travail, laboring night and day because we would not be chargeable unto any of you."
So if we must entertain selfish and ambitious men - and we must - let us make it our business to see that they get the fullest exercise for their ambitions and selfishness in their private avocations; that they do not play these games of the desire nature with our principles for counters. It is hard to sit patiently by while a man uses his Chalice of Living Truth to give his dog a drink.
(Next month, "Purity.")
NOTES BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
On Sunday, February 25th, Toronto Lodge celebrated its 60th Anniversary, having been inaugurated in that city in 1891 through the activity of Albert E.S. Smythe the first Theosophical student in Toronto. The vicissitudes of the lodge would fill a volume and its success is a bright spot in the history of the Movement in this country. That Movement has been universal and it has had many great leaders to whom a great deal of credit is due. For instance, Mrs. Annie Besant visited Toronto in 1893 and the event caused tremendous interest and activity in Theosophical and other circles, but what I want to emphasize is that Toronto Lodge's success is due rather to the many men and women who have come into the Society and studied and worked, lectured, conducted classes, talked to friends, answered questions, handed out books and contributed in many, sometimes unnoticed ways to preserve and carry forward the Theosophical tradition - it is due to their individual interest and self-sacrifice, that the work has gone forward. Toronto Lodge is one of the largest on this continent and its influence is felt far and wide and it is, I know, fully cognizant of the work that has to be done in the future and that this will depend upon the individual members in their ability to carry on the good work as heretofore.
It is with deep regret I announce the death of Mr. Walter R. Hick who became a member of the Hamilton Lodge in 1924. He was at one time President of the lodge and was for several years a member of the General Executive of the Theosophical Society in Canada. For 28 years he was a Cost Accountant at the Stanley Works in that city and about seven years ago was transferred to the Statistical Department of the American headquarters of that company at New Britain, Connecticut. His presence at the Hamilton lodge was sadly missed when he thus left for the States but he maintained his interest in the Lodge and in Theosophy to the last. Our deepest condolences are extended to Mrs. Hick and family in their bereavement.
I regret also to announce the death of another old member of the Hamilton Lodge who passed away on the 22nd of February in the person of Mr. Ernest Avonde. He joined the Society in 1921. Of Swiss parents, he was born in Lausanne, Switzerland but was a resident of Hamilton for the last 39 years where he was Vice-President of the Tiffany Confections, Ltd., and was a recognized Art Connoisseur. One of his sons is a well known Hollywood actor. To his widow, Mrs. Avonde (who joined the Society this month), and the members of the family, we offer our deepest sympathy and condolences.
I am very happy to welcome the following new members into the Society: Mrs. Lillian Avonde - Hamilton Lodge, Miss Annie Grant -Toronto Lodge.
- E. L. T.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th of every month.
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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
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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.
"AND BUGLE TO THE SOUL OF ME"
Torn MacInnes, poet, adventurer, philosopher, was born in Dresden, Ont., on October 29th, 1867, and died in Vancouver early in February of this year. In his four score and four years, he lived vigorously, thought profoundly and wrote extensively. His volumes of poetry met with a much more limited response than their spirit and quality warranted. He is better known, among Theosophical students at any rate, for his translation of the Tao Te King, and for his biography and commentary on the philosophy of Lao Tze, which was published, by J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd. in 1927 under the title The Teaching of the Old Boy. The vigor, independence, originality and practicability of his mind is revealed on every page and these qualities, together with the penetration and intuitive understanding which MacInnes brought to bear on his task, make The Teaching of the Old Boy one of the really important books on Lao Tze.
Au revoir to a great soul - his strong voice is stilled until the cycles of his karma
. . . bugle to the soul of me . . .
Call me back to the battling street
For high low variety.
TORONTO LODGE 1891 - 1951
The 60th Anniversary of Toronto Lodge was celebrated on Sunday, February 25th, with a good turnout of members and friends for the evening lecture and the social hour following. "Sixty Years of Theosophy and its Theories" was the subject chosen by Mr. George I. Kinman, President of Toronto Lodge. In his talk he touched upon the four main theories that have been used to outline Theosophy, namely: - Karma,
Reincarnation, Evolution, and the Masters - and in addition a number of the lesser theories that have arisen out of these and that are necessary to obtain a reasonable explanation of life as we have it here on this planet. Miss Madeline Hindsley, Past President of the Lodge, was chairman and in her remarks paid tribute to the charter members and earnest workers of the early days. Mr. Horace Huxtable read a passage from "The Light of Asia".
Gay yellow daffodils and a large Diamond Jubilee Birthday Cake, sent with the good wishes of Mrs. Felix Belcher, graced the "festive occasion". Mrs. W.M. Pratt, a long-time member, cut the cake which was then passed around the gathering of sixty or more friends who had adjourned to the Lotus Room. Mrs. D.W. Barr and Mrs. E. Cunningham were hostesses, and Mrs. W.G. Hyland and. Mrs. Wm. Stevens presided at the long tea-table centred with a bowl of daffodils. Mrs. N. Fergusson, Mrs. Roy Emsley, Miss F. Moon, Miss I. McArthur, and Miss J. Angus assited in looking after the guests.
- Mrs. G. I. Kinman, Corresponding Secretary, Toronto Theosophical Society.
The History of Magic by Eliphas Levi, published by Rider & Co.
Nearly a hundred years ago, in 1859, the Frenchman, Alphonse Louis Constant, under his pseudonym, of E. Levi, published the second part of his Trilogy of occult lore.
He was born in 1810 in Paris and died in 1875; the first English translation of the History appeared in 1913. Today we have this new edition with footnotes by the translator, Mr. A.E. Waite.
The first part of Levi's trilogy was the Doctrine and the Ritual of Magic; these had appeared in 1855 and 1856, and in his preface to the History in the 1859 edition Levi said that it followed in its sevenfold arrangement the twenty-two sections of the first part, and explained the affirmations contained in the Doctrine and Ritual. His third part, the Key to the Great Mys-teries, would complete and explain the History, and would be based on the number Four.
Mr. A.E. Waite said the History was the most arresting, entertaining and brilliant of all studies of magic. It is indeed an extraordinary compendium of information concerning the aspects and derivations of magic. It gives many unfamiliar details and explanations of the traditions and workings of the Art. On nearly every page one can find a paragraph, or some paradox, some quotation, which will stir the curiosity of the enquirer into these matters.
Mr. Waite's footnotes, sometimes helpful, sometimes quite misleading, do but fan the flames of the spirit of research. In one of these he says, "I have failed to trace this story to its source, but Eliphas Levi was curiously instructed in the byways of French Occult history, and, though he could seldom resist the decoration and improvement of his narratives, they had always a basis in fact".
It is this which makes the History so valuable, for, in sorting out the golden grains of Truth from the chaff and dust of fiction, the student becomes the Knower, who can then go further.
Some of the pages are beautiful in their feeling for the Past; others belong, today, to the realms of abnormal psychology; yet even here there are hints of those powers latent in man which can be aroused by the theory and practice of Magic.
Levi's somewhat elastic connexion with the Church of Rome made him criticize its weaknesses often enough, yet he died fortified by its last rites as a humble son of the Church.
Towards the end of the History he has one penetrating commentary on "the divine synthesis" and realization in and through the Christian Revelation. He says, "The glory of Christianity is that it called all men to Truth without distinction of races and castes, though not without distinction in respect of intelligence and virtue." The same could be said of that which incarnated in New York in 1875, which still calls to the Quest those who were and ever will be, "amid all the lies Terrestrial," lovers and seekers of Truth.
- M. H.
FROM THE "PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS" (Continued from Page 4)
tions and judge how best to help, with the aid of theosophical truths, their country's needs for betterment in every way.
But considering the work of the Society as a whole, one thing is clear, and that is to carry out the objective given to it from the beginning, the objective of Brotherhood. In a Letter written to A.P. Sinnett in 1880, Mahatma Koot Hoomi in referring to Adepts higher than Himself, said:
"The Chiefs want a `Brotherhood of Humanity,' a real Universal Fraternity started; an institution which would make itself known throughout the world and arrest the attention of the highest minds."
The supreme need for the world to recognize the principle of Brotherhood as the only possible way for the union of mankind is referred to in another Letter on the topic of Universal Brotherhood, when the Adept says: "It is the only secure foundation for universal morality." In that thought is the clue to the solution of all the world's problems. At the moment, each religion and each nation propounds its own morality. It is only lately that the United Nations has formulated the beginnings of a universal morality in the Declaration of Human Rights. But fundamental human rights remain merely a phrase on paper, unless behind them there is the strong moral conscience of the world. Unless the principle of Brotherhood is recognized there cannot be the "universal morality" visualized by the Adept Teacher. It is for us to work steadily towards this objective of "universal morality."
So far, in spite of our seventy-five years of work, we have not achieved much of Universal Brotherhood, outside the membership of The Theosophical Society. Indeed, very few Lodges make Brotherhood a fundamental theme of their work. There is such deep interest in all phases of knowledge concerning psychism, and the invisible worlds, that many of our studies are concentrated along those particular lines, which have a strong appeal to the public. Nevertheless, we must never forget what The Theosophical Society stands for. Even if it takes many generations, yet before our declaration of Universal Brotherhood is accepted by all peoples, and as a result there will be the universal morality Which will abolish war, poverty, racial discrimination, we must not swerve from the path mapped out for us by the Adept Teachers who initiated the Theosophical Movement.
I mentioned at the beginning that there is much historical material to prove that our Society did not just happen to come into being because of the idealism of a small group of people. As early as July 1875 H.P.B. has noted down in her first Scrapbook how she received orders from India to initiate a
movement, and to choose Colonel Olcott as the leader. From then on till 1885 seven of the Adepts gave counsel and instruction in Their Letters. On two occasions, one of Them directly addressed members of the London Lodge in 1884, concerning the divisions within the Lodge; and earlier a message was given by means of a precipitated Letter to the Convention held at Adyar in 1882. This was the first period of the general guidance by the Adept Teachers.
Then comes a gap of three years. In 1888 Colonel Olcott received in his cabin on board his steamer a precipitated Letter giving him personal directions with regard to the difficulties which had arisen between himself and H.P.B., and advice as to how to meet the situation. After 1888 there is a gap of twelve years until 1900 (nine years after the passing of H.P.B.), when Dr. Annie Besant received a Letter of advice and instruction. There is a reference in that Letter to the statement made in 1881 by the great Adept, the Maha Chohan, regarding the destiny of the Society, that "The Theosophical Society was chosen as the cornerstone, the foundation of the future religions of humanity." It is in the Letter received by Dr. Besant that the Adept Koot Hoomi mentions that "The T.S. must safely be ushered into the new century," and that the Society must be aware of the danger of "manufacturing a creed."
Here I must make a statement for which I cannot give the slightest proof to anybody. I make it, not as the President of the Society, but as an individual member of fifty-six years' standing. It is that since 1900 to this year of 1950 the watchful guardianship of the Society by the Adept Teachers has never ceased. They do not give orders, because already so much has been said by Them concerning the work we are to do, and They give us freedom to develop that work to the best of our judgment, even at the cost of any mistakes which we may commit. I know there are hundreds, if not indeed thousands, who feel that the guardianship of the Society by the Adept Teachers continues; but it is a topic on which there can be no discussion, since no proof can be given. Indeed, on the other hand in the Letter received by Dr. Besant, Mahatma Koot Hoomi says bluntly, since it was being said that unless one believed in the Masters he could not be a good Theosophist,
"The cant about `Masters' must be silently but firmly put down. Let the devotion and service be to that Supreme Spirit alone of which each one is a part. Namelessly and silently we work and the continual references to ourselves and the repetition of our names raises up a confused aura that hinders our work."
Since the year 1895, when the Society accepted the principle that it is in no way committed to a belief in the existence of the Masters, we have nevertheless constantly spoken of Their existence; this is allowable, as there is no limitation of our freedom of thought and expression. But we must be careful not to impose our belief as a theosophical dogma; we must leave the Society free to develop its work along the lines of its Three Objects, which make no mention of the existence of the Masters.
It was said by Mahatma Koot Hoomi regarding the Adepts, "Ingratitude is not one of our vices." Nor can it ever characterize the true Theosophist, with regard to the help given by the great Teachers. I will ask you to rise, while on behalf of such members of the Society as believe in Their existence, I offer to the Adept Brotherhood, who are the Elder Brothers of our race, our deep gratitude for the help given us during the last seventy-five years, and our complete trust that Their watchful guardianship of the Society will continue throughout the centuries.
"BINDING THE PLEIADES"
A recent newspaper item drew attention to a `pyramid prophecy' to the effect that by 1953 international tensions will begin to decrease and that around 1985, peace, plenty and, prosperity will be firmly established over the whole earth. In that new age `they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain' and universal brotherhood will reign - a consummation devoutly to be wished.
There have been many books written on the so-called `messages in stone' embodied in the Great Pyramid and serious students together with some fanatics have spent years in conning its measurements and endeavoring to find a relationship between these and the major events in history. Presumably if an infallible clue could be found which would definitely indicate a pre-knowledge and a concern on the part of the builders for the past wars and business depressions of this evanescent civilization, then with that clue, predictions could be made for the future. Some investigators have allowed an enthusiasm for their theories to interfere with a scrupulous regard for facts. Sir Flinders Petrie, the famous Egyptologist, once told of discovering one of such persons busy with a hammer and chisel chipping off bits of the base stone so as to make the measurements conform with his theory!
That the prediction of future events inhuman history is quite possible is indicated by H.P.B. in several of her writings; for example on page 657 of the 2nd Vol. of the Secret Doctrine,
"It was the knowledge of the natural laws which make of seven the root nature-number, so to say, in the manifested world, or at any rate in our present terrestrial life cycle, and the wonderful comprehension of its workings, that unveiled to the Ancients so many of the mysteries of Nature. It is these laws again, and their processes on the sidereal, terrestrial, and moral planes, which enabled the old Astronomers to calculate correctly the duration of the cycles and their respective effects on the march of events; to record beforehand - to prophesy, it is called - the influence which they would have on the course and development of the human races."
And again: "Why, then, should Occultists and Astrologers, as learned as these Astronomers, be disbelieved when they prophesy the return of some cyclic event on the same mathematical principles? . . . Are the prophecies to be deried, because of the claim made for hundreds of thousands of years of observation, and millions of years for the human Races? . . . Yet in the prognostication of such future events, at any rate, all foretold on the authority of cyclic recurrences, no psychic phenomenon is involved. It is neither prevision, nor prophecy; any more than is the signalling of a comet or star, several years before its appearance. It is simply knowledge, and mathematically correct computations, which enable the Wise Men of the East to foretell that England is on the eve of such or another catastrophe; that France is nearing such a point of her Cycle; and that Europe in general is threatened with, or rather is on the eve of, a cataclysm, to which her own Cycle of racial Karma has led her." S.D. I, 708.
Here is another prediction taken from The Transcendental Universe, published in 1894 which bears out the idea that prophecies can be made by calculations from known laws: "The Russian Empire must die that the Russian people may live, and the realization of the dreams of the Pan-slavists will indicate that the sixth Aryan subrace has begun to live
its own intellectual life, and is, no longer in its period of infancy. We need not persue the subject further than to say that the national character will enable them to carry out experiments in Socialism, political and economical, which would present innumerable difficulties in Western Europe.
"The above are only given as illustrations of a law which is of universal application and is known in occult science as the `Law of correspondence'. It must be borne in mind that, in occult science, the deductive method is pursued for purposes of discovery, and the inductive for proof."
In recent years, several scientists have taken an interest in cycles and their influence on the growth, viability, and longevity of lifeforms from crystals to man, together with the effect of recurring cycles on human psychology and behavior.
Dr. Charles G. Abbot of the Smithsonian Institute made a special study of the sunspot cycle, averaging eleven and one-third years. Professor A.E. Douglass of the University of Arizona investigated the effects of the sunspot cycles on tree growth and studied the rings of growth on thousands of tree stumps and timbers dating back to 1300 A.D. Other investigators have studied the effects of cycles on such matters, as stock prices, periodicity in the abundance of fish and game, human intelligence and the rise and fall in the results of aptitude tests, etc., etc. A Foundation for the Study of Cycles has been established and this acts as a clearing house for information relative to cycles.
Dr. R.H. Wheeler of the University of Kansas has undertaken a very comprehensive study of cycles with particular emphasis on their relationship to humanity. He found that cycles in art, literature, music, politics, followed one another with astonishing regularity. Periods of democracy and dictatorship, romanticism and classicism, international wars and civil insurrections definitely appear to be linked with worldwide climatic conditions. Nations are born and flourish during the long shifts from cold to warm; they disintegrate during the shifts from warm to cold. In periods of cold drought, civil wars arise. In hot, dry periods, dictators are in power, minorities are persecuted and individual liberties are curtailed. There will be a coincidence of two major cycles, one of 170 years and the other of 510 years, around 1980 and then, if the study of past cycles is any criterion, there will be a lengthy period of cold-dry weather, which will coincide in human affairs with great civil wars and the fall of old cultures. By the year 2000 a golden age should come into being with a renaissance of genius, learning, science, the arts and good governments.
The evidence seems to indicate that there is a definite link between human affairs and the sunspot and other great cycles of nature. The scientists have not ventured upon the far greater cycles spoken of in Theosophical literature as seemingly these are beyond empiric proof at the present time. But students may take these into consideration in speculating upon the major influences which these vaster cycles might have upon human psychology and the mainsprings of human action, and in pondering the relationship between the effects of cycles and the law of Karma as commonly understood.
The Secret Doctrine states: "But verily there is not an accident in our lives, not a misshapen day, or a misfortune, that could not be traced back to our own doings in this or in another life." Vol. I., 705.
Again: "This Law (Karma) - whether Conscious or Unconscious - predestines nothing and no one. It exists from and in Eternity, truly, for it
is Eternity itself; and as such, since no act can be coequal with Eternity, it cannot be said to act, for it is Action itself. It is not the wave which drowns a man, but the personal action of the wretch who goes deliberately and places himself under the impersonal action of the laws that govern the ocean's motion. Karma creates nothing, nor does it design. It is man who plans and creates causes, and Karmic Law adjusts the effects, which adjustment is not an act, but universal harmony, tending ever to resume its original position, like a bough, which, bent down too forcibly, rebounds with corresponding vigor. If it happens to dislocate the arm that tried to bend it out of its natural position, shall we say that it is the bough which broke our arm, or that our own folly has brought us to grief? Karma has never sought to destroy intellectual and individual liberty, like the God invented by the Monotheists. It has not involved its decrees in darkness purposely to perplex man; nor shall it punish him who dares to scrutinize its mysteries. On the contrary, he who through study and meditation unveils its intricate paths, and throws light on those dark ways in the windings of which so many men perish owing to their ignorance of the labyrinth of life is working for the good of his fellowmen. Karma is an Absolute and Eternal Law in the world of Manifestation; and as there can only be one Absolute, as One eternal ever-present Cause, believers in Karma cannot be regarded as Atheists or Materialists - still less as Fatalists, for Karma is one with the Unknowable, of which it is an aspect, in its effects in the phenomenal world." S.D. II., 319.
One more quotation, bearing directly on the question of Karma and Cycles; "The Secret Teachings show that the Deluge overtook the Fourth, Giant Race, not on account of its depravity, or because it had become, "black with sin" but simply because such is the fate of every continent, which - like everything else under our Sun - is born, lives, becomes decrepit and dies."
How does one reconcile the statement that "there is not a misfortune that could not be traced back to our own doings in this, or in another life" with the statement that the sinking of Atlantis - certainly a major misfortune, we would imagine, to many Atlanteans - was not the Karma of their depravity, but simply a step in a vast cycle of birth, growth and destruction? "The Deluge was no punishment but simply a result of a periodical and geological law."
It is obvious that man lives in a world in which cycles, not of his own conscious making, affect him profoundly. Here in Canada, for example the cycle of the seasons is very sharply marked - in summer, temperatures may range up around 100̊; in the winter the thermometer may register 50 or more degrees below zero. These extremes affect the lives of Canadians in many ways. Below zero weather greatly increases the likelihood of `accidents', `misfortune' and `misshapen days'; neither the saint nor the sinner is exempt from the `misfortune' of losing ears, limbs or even life if caught in a fifty below blizzard. Are such accidents due solely to Karmic causes set up in this or in previous lives; - or are they due solely to the working of an impersonal law of periodicity?
And if the scientists and prophets are correct in stating that mankind will, in about fifty years, move into a cycle of world climate which will bring about psychological changes, and alter our attitudes toward life, so that we will move out of `the winter of our discontent' and daily life will become less tense, less competitive, more gracious and cultured, and with a larger sense of Whitman's amplitude of time, will this be the result
of the Karma of those who are then incarnated - or will it represent merely another interesting reaction from a geographic law of periodicity? Perhaps we were born fifty years too soon - we should have waited for the cycle and avoided two world wars, the depression and the inflation. Or perhaps `cycles of nature' and the `Karma' of human action on all planes of being, are not two separate things but are aspects of that which H.P.B. says is 'Unknowable' in its essence, and that neither one is super-imposed upon man from without himself but both are inseparably linked with the very nature of his noumenal being.
In the Book of Job, the Lord asks, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" The Lord did not deny the power of man to affect the constellations, nor, we must assume, did he put rhetorical questions merely for the pleasure of phrasing them. The questions were asked to determine the degree of Job's wisdom. Job was in the place of testing and he was required to affirm his understanding. "Gird up, now thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee - and declare thou unto me." "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth . . . when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
A fair enough question: where was he? Had he not yet come into being; was he not yet 'created'; had his infinite and eternal life not yet `begun'? "Declare, if thou hast understanding," demanded the Initiator.
Perhaps we can find a clue to the question and to the problem of Karma and Cycles in the wisdom from of old as set out in the Secret Doctrine, which teaches, above all other things, that the Universe is One; that all life and intelligence is in essence, part of the One; that in some mysterious way which we cannot grasp with the reason, Man was from the very beginning of the new manvantara. The plan of the future cosmogony, concealed in Divine Thought, emanated through the noumenoi of all things and beings yet to come including the noumenoi of the sixth and seventh principles of `future' Man. The `plan' with its greater and lesser cycles, its unerring operation of Karma, its development of rounds and races, the appearance and disappearance of manifested universe, was not superimposed on Man; He aided in its creation; it is part of his Being. "When the morning stars sang together" he was there - a Divine Fragment of an unbroken Divine Whole. The complete harmonious rhythm of Life is part of his being, even though here on earth he may be aware only of muted and discontinuous echoes.
The universe is man's home; he has kinship with all that lives therein and has affinities with the stars and constellations and with the island universes far-flung in space. He is not the Shropshire Lad,
Standing lonely and, afraid,
In a world he never made.
He is one of the Divine Host, an essential part of the One Life; Its ways of being are his ways, Its laws, his laws.
"Gird up now thy loins like a Man... Deck thyself with excellency and dignity, and array thyself with honor and majesty."
- D. W. B.
"There the When is an eternal Now; the Where an eternal Here - the What and the Who are one. But True Being is broken by the prism of Maya into a multitudinous phenomenal development, and it is then only it can be contemplated by Spirit become fractional itself, and fallen into finite intellect. - The Dream of Ravan.
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.