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Vol. XXXII, No. 10 Toronto, December 15th, 1951 Price 20 Cents
Despite the over-emphasis on sentimentality at this season of the year, there is a magic in the Christmas Season which creates a temporary new world. Something is born at Christmas; it could become the saviour of men; it could lead men and women into Brotherhood if it only remained with us. But the magic does not last; what we call sanity floods in upon us after the day is over, and all the might-have-beens are washed away. The Child of Christmas Present does not survive.
Christmas is a survival of an ancient custom of setting apart, or keeping `holy' a day in the winter solstice. Our brother, the sun, is reborn at that time for all peoples of the northern hemisphere. From then onwards he increases in strength daily and, in cooperation with our mother the earth, pours out his abundance upon mankind.
Was it not natural that this period should become associated with the birth dates of the great Saviours, the suns of our spiritual consciousness? The season became linked with the birth of the Teachers, regardless of actual birth dates. For example, there is no valid authority for fixing the birth date of
Jesus on December 25th; this date was fixed variously by the earlier Christians in almost every month of the year. As time went on the old `pagan' custom of holding a festival in the winter solstice was expropriated by the Christian Church, and the day became known as Christmas Day, or Christ's Birth Day.
But the magic of Christmas does not arise because the day was held in remembrance of the birth of Jesus, Baldur or Mithras. The Christmas Season is traditionally one of open-hearted and open-handed kindliness, good cheer and generosity. True it has been commercialized, and true, a great deal of the Christmas giving is not done in the spirit of the day. However, despite all that, there is a genuine response to the idea. Perhaps in the winter of our souls there is some little flash of remembrance; some recollection of a Brotherhood embracing all men and women. Our essential spiritual problem is amnesia. Here in these bodies and minds the divinity is cribbed, cabined and confined - any experience which unlocks the prison cell opens the way to a wider awareness. In the vision of the seer, the ecstacy of the saint, the samadhi of the yogi, the confines of personality are surmounted entirely and the Self is known in its true nature.
In Christian language that experience is called the birth of the Christ consciousness. The hope of the ages is that all men will some day awake to full spiritual remembrance. Some have done it, others are striving to achieve - and perhaps each day is a Christmas day for some soul travelling on the Path of Return.
FOUR DIMENSIONAL LOGIC
By Cecil Williams
But for our intuitive knowledge of the Laws of Thought (about which a correspondent inquires) none of us would be alive today; in fact, human existence in the cosmos would be impossible. These laws determine all our right decisions and when, possessing sufficient data and unaberrated, we err, we do so because we have confounded one law with another. In a word, we have failed to discriminate.
Now, acute discrimination is the mark of the highly evolved man, and no success, or even progress on the Path, is possible without it. But hitherto our unconscious ways of doing the right things have never been adequately made conscious.
The mechanism of the mind - that is, its structure and function - corresponds to the mechanism of the universe. If it did not, it would be impossible for us to arrive at knowledge. The former mechanism I have called four-dimensional logic, using the word dimension in the figurative sense. This mechanism is thought, not mind (cf. The Mahatma Letters, p. 49), and is made up of (1) thoughts which are the instruments of mind; (2) thoughts which grasp those instruments and (3) thoughts which apply them to external and internal reality. The mind itself is a breath, a spirit, and Intuiter, whose intuition is imperfect unless the mechanism is properly used and properly applied.
The tools or instruments are three basic ideas, which I call categories; the thoughts which grasp them, following the Aristotelians, I call the laws of thought; their application, again copying the classicists, I name syllogisms.
It is impossible to explain completely this mechanism in one article, and perhaps only a great demand for further information would justify the use of the space necessary for an adequate interpretation. However, a brief exposition, if it does not demonstrate, may at least indicate the importance of the theme.
The three tools or categories are basic ideas which are the foundation-stones of reason. These ideas I have named inherence, polarity and process.
The meaning of the first category is, "every particular idea inheres in a general idea." By means of this category you identify things. You know a particular object is a cat because you correlate it with the appropriate general idea in your mind. This is seemingly unknown to the professional logicians.
For while Aristotelian logic is founded on this category or principle, yet in no textbook or exposition of logic that I have read is this expressly stated. So we have the ridiculous situations of John Locke declaring the syllogism should be abolished as an obstacle to logical thinking; Bertrand Russell confessing inability to understand one of Leibnitz's syllogisms (Leibnitz knew what he was thinking) based on inherence, and the taunting laughter of the General Semanticists at Aristotelianism in general. The modern attack on classical logic has shaken even those traditionalists, the Roman Catholics.
Yet there is nothing basically wrong with Aristotelian logic, bad as is the classical example of the syllogism (the Indian Nyaya logical system's standard paradigm is worse). The category on which it is founded is the keystone of reason. The fault is that, having a false theory of knowledge, the Aristotelians have attempted to cram too much into one category. The syllogism of inher-
ence will not do at all for polarity and process.
The second category or principle of thought implies that ideas have negative and positive sides and are thus ranged along a scale. This was emphasized by Leibnitz and developed in recent years by Boris B. Bogoslovksy in The Technique of Controversy.
Process, the third category, postulates the birth, growth, maturity, decay and death of all things. Because it recognizes a curve, this idea differs from the Buddhist lineal logic of change (everything is being transformed) and the Korzybskian temporal logic (everything should have a date), an echo of Buddhism, expounded in Science and Sanity. The syllogisms for the last two categories are simple and familiar.
As time, in relativity, differs from the three dimensions of direction, so does the fourth dimension of logical thinking differ from the rest. This is the viewpoint from which the Intuiter sees things. It is orientation. For it is obvious that reasoning about a thing or a problem may depend upon whether, for example, one regards it as a father, a brother or a son.
Granting sufficient data and lack of aberration, the most simple and the most profound problems are illuminated by the application of the several syllogisms of four dimensional logic. But, naturally, the greater the mental development, the greater the number of potentially solvable problems.
To the student of The Secret Doctrine much of the above will seem familiar. For what, after all, is four-dimensional logic but the statement in terms of human reason of the postulates of The Secret Doctrine? Yet the truth of those postulates logic may now, by the most strict analogy, completely demonstrate. It can substantiate those eternal verities by their infinite reflections in all nature; deciphering `the signature of all things" by the principles of reason made conscious.
Four-dimensional logic is the basis of mathematics, art, science, engineering. It will ensure that you buy the best available television set. It will reveal the rationale of laughter; tell you what democracy really is; illuminate religion; make intimate the mysterious symbols of the Proem; give you new insights into Cosmogenesis; carrying you, if you can soar, to the verge of the Unknowable.
But acquaintanceship with it is not enough. To knowledge must be added training. Some day children, from the kindergarten up will be taught the discriminations of four-dimensional logic. Then the world will be a saner and happier place.
POSTULATES OF THE SECRET DOCTRINE
I. An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible . . . .
II. The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically "the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing," . . . the absolute universality of that law of periodicity . . . which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature.
III. The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul... and the obligatory pilgrimage of every Soul . . through the cycle of incarnation (or "necessity") in accordance with cyclic and karmic law, during the whole term.
- The Secret Doctrine, Proem, pp. 14-17.
THE TWIN PATHS UP THE MOUNTAIN
By L. Furze Morrish
Most readers of this magazine must he familiar with the symbol of the `Mountain Path' as an illustration of the process of attaining spiritual fulfillment. In the well known diagram there are two `paths' depicted - one which runs at a relatively even slope round the edge of the mountain, the other shown as running straight up without deviation to a symbolic "Temple of Light' at the top, which is said to indicate the `Goal of Humanity', presumably referring to some relative stage to be attained by the humanity of our present scheme of things.
This is a simple and very illustrative diagram. It could, however, be made more nearly true to reality with some modifications. For instance, the `spiral path' does not in fact run evenly all the way. It goes up and down quite a lot. Moreover there is not one spiral path, but a large number of small tracks and paths, some broad, some narrow, but all leading in the generally upward direction.
The `straight path' also is not straight all the way. It has its smaller tracks to one side or the other around obstacles, and also branching off here and there to join the spiral path.
The fact is that no individual maintains either of these paths all the time. Those who have any experience at all will agree that at some periods in any life the inclination - in fact the pressing need - is to change to the other path for a time. The diagram, as it is generally depicted, is therefore only indicative of a general situation and process.
Those who advocate the straight path generally do so on the grounds that it `leads more quickly to the Goal'. It is `harder but quicker'. However, one may argue that if, as it is claimed, everyone reached the Goal sooner or later, what is the urgent need to wear oneself out? This is quite a logical and legitimate argument, and if the object of the `climb' is `attainment' only, then there is no answer to it; except that one can be of service to others. But, then, one can be of service on the spiral path also - even more than the straight path.
One is therefore impelled to accept that `attainment' is not the real purpose of the adventure in mountaineering, but something else constitutes the true object. What is this?
The most logical reason for all this struggle and adventuring - this `long pilgrimage' as it has been called - is that Something underlying the scheme of things may gain experience; and that Something is in all individuals, - in fact in all forms of life. This makes sense, because if Spirit is merely the `potentiality', then it needs a material instrumentality to become an `actuality', and it is the process of gaining `experience' which produces the actual results - that and nothing else. It is rather unfortunate, one believes, that the idea of `attainment' has been emphasized at the expense of `experience', because this has led to much selfish scrambling for `seats in the kingdom of heaven'. It led some twenty-five to thirty years ago, to the setting of personalities on pedestals and almost worshipping them. As a result the Theosophical Society, as centred in its world HQ at Adyar, ran off the rails for a time and brought public contempt upon itself. Under those conditions, which were a throwback to earlier religious forms, the High Priest became the `Mouthpiece of God' and surrounded himself with yes-men (and women) who came to consider themselves a `New Elect'.
If we maintain the universal notion of Theosophy and adhere to the more logical idea of experience being the object of the scheme and not personal attainment, then we avoid the mistakes of worshipping, or seeking to flatter, some personality who may help one to `attain'. This is a most important factor in theosophical understanding - in fact it is absolutely vital to any real and permanent `spiritual growth', if it is this which we are seeking. Until an individual learns to `stand on his own feet' and find his own spiritual experiences, he is still in the kindergarten stage, for it is not the adult but the child who has to take the guardian's hand in crossing the road. Doubt is the first step on the road to knowledge; and so long as people want to live in community centres believing what they are told and having their steps guided for them by some infallible leader, they cannot hope to get very far - moreover their experiences will be very limited.
This seems to be the case on the straight path. Those who climb by that way have little energy or opportunity for anything else. It is a whole-time job holding on and clambering. The view, the surrounding objects tend to get lost in the intentness on getting as far as possible as quickly as possible.
Surely there are experiences of importance to be gained on the spiral path. We may enlarge our symbolic picture to include all kinds of lovely vegetation, grottos full of interesting objects - in fact experiences of many kinds, which those who climb straight up might never find. Having reached the top and congratulated themselves, what then? Having `attained' at the expense of all these `experiences', would they have to go back and experience? If the object of Spirit in incarnating into a scheme of worlds, or even universes, is to gain experience and actuality, as it seems to be, then to miss out possibly vital experiences on the journey, for the sake of shortcuts, might be considered a relative failure, not an `attainment'.
The above is quite a legitimate argument; in fact it is the argument which the `artist' uses against the conventional theosophical one, in which members deprive themselves of all sorts of experiences in order to `kill out ambition, etc.'. The artist who has studied the theosophical argument honestly, nearly always ends by asking; "But why not enjoy yourselves instead of focussing all your energies on attaining something?" He says that, by looking for beauty in objects, persons, etcetera, one finds Eternal Beauty. This is the exact opposite of the ordinary religious mode, which has dominated the Theosophical Society all along. Who is to say that one is right and the other wrong? After all, though worlds may be constantly `returning into the Absolute' - or being withdrawn into the One Imperishable Brahm, to use another phraseology - worlds are also constantly coming forth from the Absolute. So that the importance of Spiritual orientation and material orientation must be ultimately equal and opposite. Is this how the Absolute maintains Eternal Balance?
Those who belong to the theosophical schools, especially oriental ones, naturally tend to the `withdrawal' pattern, because they are predominantly introverted, whereas the western mode is largely extraverted. Therein lies some explanation of the conflict between `hierarchial' and 'democratic'; religious and scientific; and other opposites within the theosophical movement. However, that one should give attention to the spiral as well as the straight path seems reasonable.
The `journey' is by no means at uniform pace all the way; nor in the same direction. There is always a time when the `fever to attain' becomes over-mastering, and one climbs frenziedly-
to good purpose, because this gives an incentive and a vision of a goal. At other times the need for more objective experience overtakes the other, and then unfortunately there is usually one of those `shakings' with which the enthusiasts of the oriental school describe any large-scale departure from the corpus of beliefs.
We have to remember that the Theosophical Society with its Buddhist leanings is mainly oriented in the direction of `attainment'. The whole atmosphere of Buddhism has been generated round the ideology that Matter is the `source of pain' and to be avoided; but there are other schools of occultism and spiritual living which are concerned with Action rather than Inaction; with making the desert blossom like the rose, rather than achieving the ability to remain unmoved in the midst of a wilderness. Moreover we should also remember that in all
probability a later stage in the life of the Theosophical Society will bring artists into the movement, just as the early stages brought people of a religious type, and the present stage is bringing in scientists and psychologists. If and when a large number of artistic types enter the T.S., this emphasis on `experience' will probably become the predominant one, and the intraverted mode may be neglected for a time. That would probably set up more conflicts, just as the present psychological trend antagonises the older generation of religionists who take Mr. Leadbeater and Dr. Besant as their sources of inspiration. Nothing is pemanent, everything is relative. Nothing is static, but the whole universe is dynamic and in motion. It seems we should learn to be the same, and to realise fulfillment by a just balance between the Twin Paths.
THE TWO PATHS
Quoth the Teacher;
The Paths are two; the great Perfections three; six are the virtues that transform the body into the Tree of Knowledge.
Saith the pupil;
O Teacher, what shall I do to reach to Wisdom?
O Wise One, what, to gain perfection?
Search for the Paths. But, O Lanoo, be of clean heart before thou startest on thy journey. Before thou takest thy first step learn to discern the real from the false, the ever-fleeting from the everlasting. Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-Wisdom, the "Eye" from the "Heart" doctrine.
The Dharma of the "Eye" is the embodiment of the external, and the non-existing.
The Dharma of the "Heart" is the embodiment of Bodhi, the Permanent and Everlasting.
To live to benefit mankind is the first step.
Now bend thy head and listen well, O Bodhisattva - Compassion speaks and saith: "Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?
Now thou has heard that which was said.
Thou are enlightened - Choose thy way.
- Voice of the Silence.
"THEOSOPHY IN ACTION"
Theosophy in Action, as our readers are aware, is the title of a series of articles by the late Roy Mitchell, first published in The Canadian Theosophist in 1923-24, and which was recently republished in the magazine and later bound in book form.
But there is another Theosophy in Action, a quarterly magazine, the officicial journal of the Theosophical Society in Europe, a Federation of National Societies. The aim of the Federation is to build a foundation for a fraternal grouping of European nations. The work is being done by meetings, congresses and literature, and the magazine Theosophy in Action is an integral part of the work. We have on occasion quoted interesting items from this magazine and last month's issue of The Canadian Theosophist carried a full page report of the Council meeting held in England last summer.
These facts are mentioned because of a gentle reproof received recently from the Assistant Editor of the magazine Theosophy in Action, Mrs. Adelaide Gardner, because of the use of a title - which had been the official title of the Federation magazine since 1940. As the title of Professor Mitchell's articles was selected by him in 1923, the misunderstanding can be cleared up readily.
The magazine Theosophy in Action contains up-to-date news of Theosophical activities in Europe. Anyone who would like to receive the magazine regularly may become a subscriber for the modest fee of fifty cents a year which may be sent by International Postal Order to the Business Manager, Theosophy in Action, 50 Gloucester Place, London, W.1.
NOTES BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
It is with much pleasure I welcome the following new members into the Society: - Mr. Reginald M. Stevens, Mrs. Alice O. Stewart, both of Hamilton Lodge; Mrs. Sarah J. Manley, Mr. Frank Manley and Mr. Arthur T. Hession of the Toronto Lodge. I am also happy to welcome back on demit from the American Section Mr. and Mrs. J. Stoetzer who have been admitted to the Hamilton Lodge and Mr. Frank Tuphome who was reinstated as a member of Toronto Lodge after an absence of many years.
At this time of the year our thoughts gravitate to the little village of Bethlehem where two thousand years ago the Prince of Peace was reputed to have been born. With the world in its present unsettled condition it is difficult to believe that His coming was heralded as a prelude to peace among men. Darkness still hangs like a heavy pall over the world, and wars and threats of war dominate human thinking. But there is a saying that the darkest hour precedes the dawn, and it may be that we shall yet see the first faint gleam of the coming day.
The inner meaning of the beautiful Nativity Story is that it symbolizes the birth of the heavenly child, the Christ Spirit in each one of us. When that event takes place among men and women of all races, then all the dark clouds of anger, hatred and uncharitableness will be dispelled and humanity will become one Universal Brotherhood.
With such Theosophical hopes in mind, I extend to you the Season's Greetings and the earnest wish that the New Year will bring tidings of an era of Peace ands Goodwill to mankind.
- E. L. T.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
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Isolated students and those unable to have access to Theosophical literature should avail themselves of the Travelling Library conducted by the Toronto Theosophical Society. There are no charges except for postage on the volumes loaned. For particulars write to the Travelling Librarian, 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ont.
Manas devoted its `Frontiers' Section in its issue of October 10th to the writings and lectures of a famous Canadian, Dr. Brock Chisholm. Extracts and condensations of these were published recently in pamphlet form by the International Forum in Geneva. Dr. Chisholm is Director General of the World Health Organization. Manas states that Dr. Chisholm's thesis is plain, "No well-intended world organization can possibly succeed in regulating human affairs without an accompanying effort to eliminate or reduce personal, social and religious immaturities at the psychological level." Dr. Chisholm is quoted, "The necessity to fight wars, whether as aggressor or as a defender who could have, but has not taken steps to prevent war occurring, is as much a pathological psychiatric symptom as is a phobia or the antisocial behavior of a criminal who has been dominated by a stern and unreasoning father. They are alike irrational behavior patterns resulting from unsuccessful development and failure to reach emotional maturity. It is evident that this failure is usual in the whole human race and has been so throughout historical time . . . To use a medical analogy, the human race is socially, desperately and dangerously ill . . . For many generations we have bowed our necks to the yoke of the conviction of sin . . . Misguided by authoritarian dogma, bound by exclusive faith; stunted by inculcated loyalty, torn by frantic heresy, bedevilled by insistent schism, drugged by ecstatic experience, confused by conflicting certainty, bewildered by invented mystery, and loaded down by a weight of guilt and fear engendered by its own original premises, the unfortunate human race, deprived by its incubi of its own defences and its only reason for striving, its reasoning power and its natural capacity to enjoy the satisfaction of its natural urges, struggles along under its ghastly self-imposed burden." We hope that some Theosophists will not consider that the last sentence was directed at them!
Speaking of Christmas gifts - and who isn't - why not a Theosophical book
this year? H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings (1883) would be an excellent book for a Theosophically minded friend. The writings of H.P.B. contained in this volume are little known among students of today and are of great interest and occult value. This book may be ordered direct from Theosophia, 136 North Catalina St., Los Angeles 4, California, or from Mr. E.B. Dustan, Book Steward, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ont. The price is $6.00 plus postage. For smaller gift books Light on the Path, The Voice of the Silence, The Song Celestial or one of the several translations of the Bhagavad Gita would be appropriate.
Peace Lodge, Hyde, England, has published a 16-page paper entitled "Is Reincarnation a Fact?" by T.H. Redfern. He quotes from The Manchester Guardian's review of a recent book English Life and Leisure concerning the decline of orthodox Christianity
"Large numbers of people, certainly the majority of those outside the Churches and very likely a majority of the whole population, have either explicitly, after careful thought, or instinctively, after little or no thought, rejected so much of the Christian story as related in the New Testament that no Church would recognize them as Christians at all . . . There is no doubt that the speaking, publications, and even way of thinking of the Church are simply not in harmony with the way of life of the people."
It would seem that the prophecy mentioned by Madame Blavatsky has come true:
"I have no intention of repeating here stale arguments and logical exposes of the whole theological scheme; for all this has been done, over and over again, and in a most excellent way, by the ablest 'Infidels' of England and America. But I may briefly repeat a prophecy which is a self-evident result of the present state of men's minds in Christendom. Belief in the Bible literally, and in a carnalised Christ, will not last a quarter of a century longer. The Churches will have to part with their cherished dogmas, or the 20th century wilt witness the downfall and ruin of all Christendom, and with it, belief even in a Christos, as pure Spirit. The very name has now become obnoxious, and theological Christianity must die out, never to resurrect again in its present form."
- Lucifer, Vol. I. Sept. 1887-Feb. 1888, p. 491.
The Adyar Library which is famous among Oriental scholars and which is performing a noteworthy Theosophical service, is in need of funds for a new building. This is a cause in which members the world over should be interested.
The Toronto Theosophical Society has had a very busy two months. In October we were visited by Dr. Alvin B. Kuhn, noted Theosophical lecturer and author of many books on Theosophy and on Christian origins and teachings. Dr. Kuhn lectured on two Sundays and on the week nights in between and, as usual, attracted a large number of students. A reception and tea was held after the Sunday Lecture on October 14th.
On November 17th the Lodge held its annual Bazaar and Christmas Sale to raise funds to carry on the work during the coming season. The weather was perfect and a large number of members and friends attended. It was a busy, gay occasion and many visitors from out of town came in for the Sale. Tea was served in the afternoon and dinner in the evening. When late on Saturday night all the excitement was over and the hall had been restored to its customary formal dignity, it was found that
the financial returns had exceeded the estimate and that about $1000.00 had been obtained for the Lodge funds.
From November 25th to December 2nd we had as our guests Professor and Mrs. Ernest E. Wood. Professor Wood spoke on two Sundays and also held classes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. In the series of talks Professor Wood dealt with the first seven of the Stanzas of Dzyan. This subject proved to be of deep interest and the Sunday night lectures and the classes were well attended. Many members and newcomers were out to all the classes and our classroom accommodation was crowded. At a reception on Sunday November 25th Professor and Mrs. Wood were welcomed by many old friends.
Our visitors left on December 3rd to fulfill speaking engagements in Fort Wayne and Chicago.
- Mrs. G. I. Kinman, Secretary, Toronto Lodge.
GODS AND WORSHIP
Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, originally published in 1890-91, are compiled from shorthand notes taken at meetings of the lodge from January 10 to June 20, 1889. Questions were put by members; the answers in all cases are those of Esoteric Philosophy as given by H.P.B. herself.
A. . . . Dhyani is a generic name in Buddhism, an abbreviation for all the gods. Yet it must ever be remembered that though they are "gods," still they are not to be worshipped.
Q. Why not, if they are gods?
A. Because Eastern philosophy rejects the idea of a personal and extra-cosmic deity. And to those who call this atheism, I would say the following: It is illogical to worship one such god, for, as said in the Bible, "There be Lords many and Gods many." Therefore, if worship is desirable, we have to choose either the worship of many gods, each being no better or less limited than the other, viz., polytheism and idolatry, or choose, as the Israelites have done, one tribal or racial god from among them, and while believing in the existence of many gods, ignore and show contempt for the others, regarding our own as the highest and the "God of Gods." But this is logically unwarrantable, for such a god can be neither infinite nor absolute, but must be finite, that is to say, limited and conditioned by space and time. With the Pralaya the tribal god disappears, and Brahma and all the other devas, and the gods are merged into the Absolute. Therefore, occultists do not worship or offer prayers to them, because if we did; we should have either to worship many gods, or pray to the Absolute, which, having no attributes, can have no ears to hear us. The worshipper even of many gods must of necessity be unjust to all the other gods; however far he extends his worship it is simply impossible for him to worship each severally; and in his ignorance, if he choose out any one in particular, he may by no means select the most perfect. Therefore, he would do better far to remember that every man has a god within, a direct ray from the Absolute, the celestial ray from the One, that he has his "god" within, not outside, of himself.
. . . Remember that the only God man comes in contact with is his own God, called Spirit, Soul and Mind, or Consciousness, and these three are one . . . The term "God" - unless referring to the Unknown Deity or Absoluteness, which can hardly be supposed acting in any way - has always meant in ancient philosophies the collectivity of the working and intelligent Forces in nature. - Transactions, pp. 43, 44, 56, 108.
By Roy Mitchell
A man might go on studying and transmuting ideas for himself alone and make thus great gains in his powers of mind, finding that he became very expert in the manipulation of mind forms and the derivation of inferences by the union of previously unrelated ideas. If, however, he worked only for himself, he must find very soon that the inference-making faculty would wane and he would have to be content with logical deduction which is not the same thing at all but greatly inferior to true inference. This inferential faculty of which I speak and, which I urge the serious student to exercise, is a function of intuition and, belongs to higher mind where the latter borders on the Buddhic faculty. It is highest mind illuminated by a ray of direct cognition. The ancients called it a flaming sword and their divine figure for it was Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods. It is a flash of fire that, unless we learn to use it, casts a feeble enough ray in our smoky, emotion-clouded minds. Mere arithmetical logic, on the other hand, is of lower mind and useful and all as it is for the ordering and classification of ideas and for committing to memory, is unequal to the work of transmutation. Transmutation is of the spirit working in mind.
It is implicit in all occultism that to draw down the powers of spirit, we must give away something we have. I suppose most of us when we have come across this doctrine for the first time have thought it a hard saying and as having something to do with austerity of life and rigid self-denial. Indeed at a certain stage it has but it has far wider implications than these and far more generous ones. Its great implication, and this means most for the creative worker, is, that having our true being in an inexhaustible fountainhead of spiritual power, we are, as it were, conduits through which power flows, and, like a physical conduit, if we are not giving off below, we cannot take in from above. We must stagnate.
This is the basis of that old tradition of the chain gurum param para, the chain of teachers above and above, and its converse, of pupils below and below, the implication of which is that every living being receives instruction from someone above and in his turn instructs someone below him in the scale. The measure in which we can be instructed is precisely the measure in which we transmit. "With what measure ye mete it shall be meted to you again," we say and we think of the saying as having to do with some kind of vengeance or reward imposed on us by external forces. But it is far more significant when we see it thus as a current flowing through us and we are measurers of that current, transmitting it to our benefit or neglecting it to our hurt.
For purposes of our present enquiry and the problems of theosophic study, this tradition is of prime importance to us and we will do well to make closer and more immediate application of it. It means for us that, to vitalize our study - our quest of truth - we must find an outlet for such truth as we have. That we should go on gathering a wisdom that does not flow is as impossible as that we should employ static electricity for dynamic uses without first dynamizing it.
Of course no living being can refuse utterly to transmit. If he does he must cease to be a living being. Indeed I can conceive of no other way of death physical or spiritual than this of refusing to
pass on the impulses of the spirit. A man who will do so must lose light and warmth; growing interiorly darker and darker, colder and colder until at last the vitalizing breath of the flow of Spirit in its seven modes, passes him by. Truly an eighth sphere, an icebound hell.
For the rest of us, standing somewhere between a full acceptance of the flow of spirit and its full denial, there are manifestations of the law far more immediate and provable than this general concept. There is that phenomenon anybody may test in a moment for himself, the curious inrush of an idea that follows faithfully upon the utterance of one, as if there was no room for the newcomer until an old one was thrust forth. The exercise is more potent when the idea is accompanied by an eager desire that a listener understand what is being told him.
Orators are familiar with the phenomenon, at first to their great embarrassment. Upon the utterance of an idea, there swirls into the mind a better way of saying what has just been voiced. A tyro will become confused thinking he has chosen the inferior way of saying his thought and believing therefore that he is making a poor showing. The experienced speaker knows that the second idea can only be born when the first is voiced and will store the new idea away for future use. Every lecture is to him a study for the next, and he will derive the next in the process of incarnating this one.
So a student working along by himself, and much more than he supposes for himself, must come presently to the realization that the closet-theosophist is a contradiction in terms; that the vital and on-going student of the mysteries cannot keep his way withaot this cathartic process, this cleansing that works in its necessary measure when he endeavors to put his ideas into external form; in a greater and more concentrated degree when he incarnates them in the living voice, and most vitally of all when he believes most in the need that his ideas should carry aid and light and mercy.
Why? Because, as I suggested early in these essays, there is no spirituality to be attained alone. Spirituality is a shared thing and only an intense eagerness to share will evoke it. With every kindly thought in us it flashes through the murk of our minds, expending itself most commonly in the pleasant warmth we feel when we have done a helpful thing. But when, because we are transmitting ideas, and are filled with a great longing that our ideas be service-able, the light does flash in our minds, we are far more likely to see it, keeping as we are a sort of vigil and praying for it. We get what we want most. Wisdom also. And no other motor force will energize our wants so purely and intensely as the desire to give to another. Such a desire carries no misgivings to impair its intensity.
It is not enough to say, "I shall study and then I shall teach." It sounds logical but this law transcends that kind of logic. The occultist says, "I shall teach and thereby give point and purpose to my study, for there can be no study without these." Mere curiosity, will not take us into the mysteries. They are closed to the sightseer and open only to the load-bearer.
We Theosophists have made this same mistake over and over again. We must see that we are only helped after we have become helpers, only loved after we have become lovers, only taught after we have become teachers and only assumed by the Masters after we have assumed others.
In order then to activate study we will do well to perfect our powers of instruction. There can be no motion except along this chain of the spirit. It is the
doctrine that can without contradiction explain us as separate and yet as united. I think perhaps we shall find at the last that the law of the chain contains all other laws.
5 November, 1951.
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist.
When The Theosophist for June was compiled and released for printing, I was in Sydney. My assistant-Editor, by faith a Zoroastrian, would hardly realize the implications of the word "Theosophical" in the article by Mr. Sidney Ransom, who is a priest of the Liberal Catholic Church. Had I been in Adyar, I would have added a footnote to the article, painting out that there is no Theosophical Church. Of course, there never has been any affiliation between the Theosophical Society and the Liberal Catholic Church. But I was not placed in any dilemma whatsoever, as you imagine, and never have been.
I fought strenuously during more than two years to uphold the "Disassociation Policy", which the General Council approved at its annual meeting in 1950. I have not budged one fraction from that wise resolution, which is necessary to clear the misconceptions in the minds of many regarding the role of the Society towards all kinds of religious, philanthropic and cultural movements.
But this "disassociation" as the policy of the Theosophical Society has not been imposed - and never can be - on any member of the Society. Each member, even one holding an official position in the Society has a perfect right to his own individual opinion and action, so long as he does not commit the Society thereby.
When in Sydney last Easter I preached a sermon (not as President of the Society but in my capacity as an individual) on the mystical teachings of St. Paul concerning "Christ in you, the hope of glory". I have been preaching many sermons for the Liberal Catholic Church in various parts of the world, but it does not mean that I belong to that Church. In past years in the United States I have preached twice at a Unitarian Church and, once at a Universalist Church. A week ago I attended and addressed a celebration by the Jain Community in Madras, commemorating the birthday of their great Prophet, the last Tirthankar Mahavira. This religion is probably the oldest in India. When I was asked to speak, I did so briefly, praising the teachings of this great Teacher.
For forty-eight years we have had an organization called the Theosophical Order of Service, composed of members of the Theosophical Society as well as those who are not members. One division of this Order is composed of those who want to promulgate the doctrine of vegetarianism. But this has never meant that the Society is committed or that all Theosophists are expected to be vegetarians, even though groups in a "Theosophical Order" are themselves committed to that doctrine.
It is only since 1875 that the words "Theosophy" and "Theosophical" have been considered as exclusively appertaining to the Theosophical Society. Both words existed for at least two centuries before that date.
I wish to emphasize again that I have never delivered a sermon in any Church, in my Presidential capacity, but only in my capacity as an individual. I am the President of the Society only at official meetings of the Theosophical Society or its Lodges and Federations, and when I am attending to the large volume of correspondence and other matters which directly concern the policies and
general administration of the International Theosophical Society.
C. Jinarajadasa, President.
Nov. 22nd, 1951
The Editor, Canadian Theosophist.
"A Theosophical Church"
Would you allow me to explain to your readers that I have Mr. Sydney Ransom's word that reaffiliation with the Theosophical Society was not even remotely in his mind when he wrote the article. Nor does any Liberal Catholic in England - so far as I know - desire it.
Mr. Ransom is one of our most loved and honored Theosophists.
Secretary, Minehead Centre T.S.
We would regret it very much if anything written by us under a misunderstanding of Mr. Ransom's article caused any distress to Mr. Ransom or his fellow-workers. We did not suggest that Mr. Ransom advocated re-affiliation.
While it is true as the President states that the words `Theosophy' and `Theosophical' were in use long before the Theosophical Society was founded, nevertheless these words have definite connotations. If the words were to be applied in the Society equally and without distinction to the body of ideas presented in the Mahatma Letters and in The Secret Doctrine, and to a body of ideas of opposite nature, the essential meaning of the words would be lost.
We agree with the third paragraph of Mr. Jinarajadasa's letter respecting `disassociation' and the individual members. The right of each person to formulate his individual opinions must be respected and maintained at all times, `so long as he does not commit the Society thereby'. Our protest against Mr. Ransom's article on the Liberal Catholic Church was made because it appeared in a Theosophical magazine, it presented the Liberal Catholic Church as a `Theosophical Church' and it advocated the study of certain books favored by the Church as presenting the `Theosophical basis'. If the article had appeared in Ubique it would riot have been mentioned in this magazine.
A Theosophical magazine should not be used for the propaganda of Liberal Catholic teachings. Even the presence of a footnote to the effect that the Liberal Catholic Church was not a Theosophical Church would hardly have cleared away the confusion created by the printing of the article. That there is confusion is evident from the conflict between the President's statement that `there never has been any affiliation between the Theosophical Society and the Liberal Catholic Church', and the statement attributed to Mr. Ransom, `re-affiliation with the Theosophical Society was not even remotely in his mind.' If there never was an affiliation, how could any question arise as to re-affiliation?
Perhaps the President and Mr. Ransom are speaking of different things. Officially there was no affiliation; unofficially and in the minds of the members and public, the two organizations were closely affiliated and associated. Liberal Catholic Church members have an undeniable right to form themselves into a sect and to carry on their work. But this should be entirely separate from the Society.
Disassociation has now been proclaimed; let it be observed by both parties.
FINLAND SUMMER SCHOOL
The following is a summary of an interesting talk given to the members of Montreal Lodge by Mrs. H. Sora on her return from a trip to Finland.
Last summer, when travelling in Finland, I had an opportunity to attend the Theosophical Summer School; and now, even if a little late, I am able to bring
many good wishes and heartiest greetings from the Finnish Theosophical Society and from all pupils of the Summer School.
The lectures were arranged to be delivered in a place called "Laborers' Academy", near Helsinki, the capital. Surrounded by pine and spruce forest, the buildings made a most beautiful setting for this kind of gathering. As teachers and lecturers in this school were: Mrs. Adelaide Gardner and Captain Sidney Ransom, from England.
Every day was started with meditation, making it clear that silence and quieting one's own personalities were absolute necessary means to attain spiritual knowledge, spiritual unity as well as health and well-being of the physical body. Very interesting subjects at the lectures were: "Man's Dual Nature", "Mind as a Mirror", "Psychism and Spiritual Knowledge", "Theosophy and the Atomic Age", and many others.
From ancient times, deep interest in spiritual things prevailed amongst the Finns, as related in their national epos "Kalevala". This gives endless inspiration to architects, painters, sculptors, poets, and musicians. Finnish ancient religion, as told in "Kalevala", has altogether a deeper esoteric meaning, as H.P.B. realized when she put a few lines of "Kalevala" at the beginning of the 2nd part of the "Secret Doctrine". Using theosophical teachings as a key, you will find unprecedented beauty and the same truths and great teachings as are presented in the "holy books" of other nations.
Finland is probably the only country where you still meet poets who make their living by writing poetry. Not so well known perhaps as other countries, it has its place amongst civilized nations more through its spiritual, than by its economic and military might. Theosophy, as a living thing, has deep roots in the Finnish soul, and no hardships, sufferings or privations can ever uproot it.
- Helmi Sora.
Gods in the Making, by T. Mawby Cole and Vera W. Reid. Published by Aquarian Press, 51 Chancery Lane, London, W.C.2, England. Second Edition, 1951, 190 pp., Price 10/6.
This is a well-written, concise presentation of a good deal of the Ancient Wisdom teachings. The evolution of life through form in the mineral, vegetable, animal and human kingdoms under the law of periodicity is traced, developing the thesis that the unfoldment of our potentiality is the whole purpose of existence. But the general subject of Rounds and Races and the "obligatory pilgrimage of every soul" through the seven successive Root Races is completely bypassed. And the method of unfoldment on the Path is also not touched upon.
Having aroused an appetite for the Sacred Science, the book should lead the more serious student to satisfying food. It is at that point that Gods in the Making, fails him. Nowhere is there any acknowledgment of the debt owed to those Adepts of Wisdom and Compassion who have preserved and through their Messengers have spread before mankind the bread of life. No footnotes or bibliography direct the student to the greatest source book of this century, The Secret Doctrine, or to those incomparable gems Light on the Path, Voice of the Silence or the Bhagavad-Gita.
According to the Foreword, astrology was a philosophy and a religion to the author for many years before his death in an air raid in 1939, and the closing chapters deal with the solar system and explain planetary influences. "Aquarius, the sign of the New Age, is the sign of man . . . The keyword for the Aquarian Age will be enlightenment, and when the delusions of the Piscean Age cease to exist, man will come into his great inheritance, an understanding of himself, and his relationship to the great cosmic laws of which he is a part.
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.