The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement In this Magazine, unless made in an official document.
Vol. XXXII, No. 12 Toronto, February 15th, 1952 Price 20 Cents
HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE THE SIXTH
The tributes to the memory of King George VI which are flowing from all over the world, from the nations, from groups of peoples and from individuals, are expressions of the genuine respect and affection which were so freely accorded to the late monarch. The world pays tribute to the manhood of one who by virtue of birth, reigned over an empire, and, who because of worthiness, reigned in the hearts of men and women.
The King did not seek the exalted rank which became his. The inscrutable workings of the law of karma raised him unexpectedly to the position, but his was the character which enabled him to fulfill its duties and obligations with quiet dignity, courage and wisdom. In the right performance of his kingly dharma, George VI was exemplary, and the manhood of the King invested the symbol of The Crown with a new and deeper significance.
In the Bhagavad Gita it is written: "The work which is performed, O Arjuna, because it is necessary, obligatory and proper, with all self interest put aside and attachment to the action absent, is declared to be of the quality of truth and goodness which is known as sattva." The late King brought this spirit to his work, and although holding the highest temporal rank among his people, he lived in humbleness, goodness and truth both in his private life and in the steadfast performance of his outer duties as the symbol of unity among all the peoples of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to the Queen Mother, to Queen Mary, to Princess Margaret and to all members of the Royal Family, the Theosophical Society in Canada extends its deepest sympathy.
"THE BAD MAN"
"Do not fancy you can stand aside from the bad man or the foolish man. They are yourself, though in a less degree than your friend or your Master."
Probably most readers of that priceless ethical manual - Light on the Path - have been struck by this remark. It is probably also the case that many persons approve of the ethics given in such manuals as Light on the Path and The Voice of the Silence and will verbalize them on occasion. But when that Moment arises when they could apply them, there is usually a personal code handy for the situation. Almost invariably, the bad man is somebody else.
It is precisely when things go wrong, or seem to go wrong, that the otherness of the culprit becomes most satisfying; for then, when the personal ego is unenlightened by the soul vision of responsibility, it is natural to conclude that oneself is spotless, while the other person bears the guilt.
In these days, when time-honored institutions are crumbling, when an anti-organizational tendency seems to be spreading like a conflagration among the populace, it seems proper to examine critically, if possible, those particular attitudes which are threatening in a most sinister way the very existence of association under the name of Theosophy. Yet, if Theosophical groups could survive the acute danger of our times on an ethical basis, there is no telling what glorious heights they might reach.
Certainly one of the most destructive forces to Theosophical organization ever since its inception, has been the ideal of the bad man - the thought that the very spirit of evil had hypostasized, as it were, into an associate or coworker. That frequently led to violent schisms, with the idea arising that whatever was done in opposition was justified because the old group had fallen under the domination of evil. Then the Self-Righteous set forth their personal remarks as "Impersonality" (as, for instance, because of the anonymity). There seemed to be the attitude: "What I am saying would ordinarily be considered as simple mud-slinging and personality dirt; but, in view of the extraordinary situation, and the character of the opponent, it has perforce become Theosophical!" And then, such a curious exhortation arose, as: "For the sake of Theosophy, believe on hearsay!" But there is a real force of Evil in the world, and those who have so recklessly accused their associates have merely played into its hands; they have confused the issue of what really is Evil, and this is the most desirable confusion from the standpoint of the Left Hand Path.
Now, these individuals who had such great capacity to believe that the slime they have handed out, was really elixir, must themselves some day come up before the bar of justice. With desire for mitigating their fate, may it be suggested to them that they consider in a meditative way, the passage we have quoted from Light on the Path.
Is that man bad? If we knew, we would not have to believe on hearsay; if we knew, we would not have to suspect. Both hearsay and suspicion being founded in ignorance, they cannot be true guides.
And if the suspicious man has in addition the fault of pride, he tends to hope that the suspected one will actually turn out to be guilty of the misconduct attributed to him, lest pride should be humbled by the thought that suspicion
had misjudged a fellow human being. Thus hoping for misconduct, he is forever incapable of knowing the truth with regard to that other; and, adding his mental force to the consummation of evil, he demonstrates that he himself is indeed the bad one. So when a seeming wrong occurs, and the suspicious man says, "Behold my good judgment! I suspected him long ago; I doubted his good motives from the start - and now I am proved right!" - know that this suspicious man only demonstrates more clearly his complicity. He hoped for evil, and therefore contributed to the seeming wrong. And having ignorantly believed ill of another, he cannot impartially decide now that a wrong has actually taken place. If others rally about him, saying, "May he lead us; he has the prophetic insight, for he suspected it from the start!" - know that these people are like the blind following a blind man. They praise ignorance, and they praise the pride which hopes for evil lest ignorant suspicion be shown for what it is.
Suppose someone comes around and wants us to believe a close associate of his for many years is on the wrong path, is a bad man. Should we think that due to the long association, this person must know the truth (quite apart from whether the truth is being told)? Indeed, it is not necessarily the case that long association gives insight into another's character. Certainly wrong actions are committed all the time, and almost every day by almost everybody. But if, for some reason or another, we entertain a personal dislike of an individual, we become incapable of discerning his good and evil deeds. The reason for this is that if he did nothing wrong, we would not be justified in having the dislike. That infected part of our nature which indulges in these personal animosities seeks to observe the evil actions of another. But this is not discernment; the latter is the impersonal separation of good and evil; and this has become impossible through personal attachment (by reason of personal aversion).
If we meet bad people and they stay bad, indeed we are bad, for we are incapable of giving them a spiritual impulse upward. In the Jatakamala, or Garland of Birth Stories, by Arya-Sura, we read in The Story of Sutasoma, that in one of the former births of the Buddha, He converted a terrible monster through sheer force of virtuous conduct. The monster, the son of Sudasa, came to say, "Having beholded the ugliness of my conduct in the mirror of Righteousness, and being touched by emotion may I not, perhaps, be a person whose mind craves for the Law?" (Translation by Speyer). This is a beautiful illustration of the power of moral example. It shows that a person who has conceived and holds on to that goal of Enlightenment for the sake of benefitting all living beings, and acts virtuously in all circumstances, eventually develops a moral power which can ignite a spiritual aspiration in even the most degraded wretch. But the majority of mankind acts for self and has no such earnest goal. Consequently, when evil is encountered there is no capacity to convert it. The only conclusion is that we who are incapable of contacting the spiritual spark of the bad man are ourselves full of defects and also bad. Why then should we call the other man bad with the implication that we are pure?
Light on the Path says further, "remember that the soiled garment you shrink from touching may have been yours yesterday, may be yours tomorrow. And if you turn in horror from it, when it is flung upon your shoulders, it will cling the more closely to you." This is necessarily the case for all who live for self, for they are ever subject to circumstances. Only the one who acts for
the Higher Self becomes Lord over the environment. But most men are swept along with the strong current of reparative existence. That current may today bring them into the form which is the respected man of the community, and tomorrow into the hunted criminal - for when men act for self, they are victims of environment, and it is the latter which produces the respected and the despised. On the other hand, the disciple realizes that in his Higher Self he is one with all beings, while in his lower, he has sprung from the same sin and corruption that produced the general misery.
But who are these people whom we meet in business dealings, casual contact, lodge association, and so forth - who are supposedly "good" and "bad"? Since nature is ever tending to restoration of harmony, to adjusting the effect to the cause, it follows that we reap what we sow; that these people act toward us as we are. Hence we are they. But as our spirit of comradeship and higher aspiration is more truly us than our selfish consideration, we can say that our friend and master is ourself to a greater degree than the bad man or the foolish man.
It has been wisely said that "Only a fool seeks revenge." Compensation has already been received, why should we seek more? But, you say, "Injustice has been done." Indeed, how do you know? Certainly, not alone through the ability to diffuse Theosophy for the "common man". There is a divine faculty, potential in all, and latent in most (in particular the proud) - of perceiving the true causes of the present manifestation. This is that soul vision which overleaps the grave, and sees the previous time when there was the opportunity of forging new karmic bonds.
Perhaps the Flame burns bright when reading about a great Buddhist teacher named Aryadeva in A History of Indian Literature (Calcutta, 1933), by Maurice Winternitz: "One of Nagarajuna's pupils was Deva or Aryadeva . . . . . (his) biography was translated, into Chinese by Kumarajiva (in about 405 A.D.) together with those of Asvaghosa and Nagarjuna, and is just as legendary as these last named. Legend has it that he died at the hands of a murderer. The pupil of one of the heretical teachers whom Deva had defeated in disputation, waylaid him and pierced him through with a sword, as he sat in the forest absorbed in meditation. Before his death he instructed the murderer, and restrained his pupils who were about to pursue the murderer, with these words, `Everything is unreal. Reflect upon the true meaning of all things in the world of phenomena. Where is the oppression or cruelty? Who is pierced or murdered? If you recognize the true nature of all things, then there is neither murdered nor murderer. Who is a friend and who a foe? Who is the murderer and who is the murdered?' Both Hsuan-Tsang and I-tsing mention Aryadeva along with Asvaghosa and Nagarjuna, as one of the great men who lived `in ancient times'."
It will not be necessary to ask for remembrance of this event. . . As ln the Udanavarga (XVII; 5; tranalation by Rockhill), "Think not 'Evil is of little importance, it will not follow after me;' for as a large vase is filled by the falling of drops of water, so will the fool become full of evil, even if he gathers it little by little." Certainly many living today have deeply imbedded in their soul the memory of how the representatives of Truth were driven from India. Those who felt that Truth should be exclusive possession of the few, ended by not having it themselves; and now they are content with regarding the Guess as Intuition. Evil - as the Mahatma Letters pointed out - is due to human nature made vile by selfishness,
and to organized religion and priestcraft. The Bad Man is the vision instilled by priestcraft, but the Buddhists put the emphasis on the views and action - it was these which were right or wrong. Hence they concerned themselves with the promulgation of Truth, and the refutation of Falsehood, and rejected the personality technique. Rightly, they felt that the true teacher was the one who could instill the right views in himself and in others. The false teacher tried to conceal his incapacity by personality assault - assuming that a dead opponent could not refute; today, his miserable descendants try to do the same with personality muck-raking, on the theory that a dead reputation is as effective as the crude physical murder of yore.
So we can see why the bad man is yourself. "Yourself" is the personality. It has been made vile by selfishness; and becomes even more so, through the personality exaltation of personality derision. As Eliphas Levi has said, "Cure, therefore, first, your diseased intelligence. The cause of all bewitchments, the poison of all philtres, the power of all sorcerers are there." It is from yourself that evolves that continual disharmony, the "other's" dishonesty, his "bad motives," and the rest. Cure thyself; and half the world will be cured alongside you!
- Alex. Wayman.
By Roy Mitchell
Now, having seen how the jewel-thread of our thoughts is the true vehicle of the consciousness of the Ego, we may be in a position to develop an important aspect of a very old and much debated matter.
The Buddhists, as we have seen, says of the thread of thought-images that it is the means of recovering the past and he urges the novice in the occult life to try for himself the process of remembering back from thought to thought. Ordinarily we remember forward. That is, we take a thought, or event with its group of thoughts, somewhere back in time and travel along the thread to a point nearer in time to the present. We have seen how this process can be creative because it launches the Ego into the making of new sequences; but the very fact that it does lead to new making invalidates it for purposes of recovery of past forms in their due order. We do not in remembering want to fly off at tangents. Our necessity is not unlike that of the forger who in reproducing a signature treats it as a drawing; and works backward. If he worked forward his own life-long habit of letter-making would creep in.
As we go backward thus through thought sequences we find after a short time that we can for the most part proceed quite rapidly, developing at moments what seems to our time-bound minds like enormous speed covering hours of the past in seconds of the present. Then at greater or less intervals we come on cloudy or gray places where the line is shaken and the continuity impaired. The going is slow. We have to struggle. Then perhaps we come on a blank where the thread seems broken altogether. Of course it never is, nor can be. Not until we have laboriously
worked through the wreckage, sometimes casting round like a dog who has lost the scent, sometimes in a welter of seemingly unrelated images, do we find the reason for it. After we have crossed the gap we find there has been a violent orgasm, perhaps of sex, perhaps of anger or fear. Its effect has been like that of an explosive. It has scattered thoughts in every direction and has made a wilderness through which the questing Ego must fight every step of the road back. So violent can such an explosion be that after an outburst of anger the angry man can scarcely remember what he said or did. This is why men after being angry so frequently misreport their conversations during the outburst. The epileptic whose orgiastic explosion is most violent of all, remembers nothing.
It would seem then that in placid moments, in restrained moments, in moments when we have lived in our realm of mind, least interfered with by the passions, the thread is even and easily recoverable. If we would lift ourselves above the passions we would attain the unbroken life - the life everlasting.
Coming as we all do from churches where the life everlasting has always been offered to us as the pleasant reward of an act of belief, and scheduled to start promptly after death, and where thoughts and actions are classified as being pleasing or unpleasing to God, we all inherit a vague notion that codes of action are artificial and that even if God has recorded our acts in the Book of Life with which clergymen used to frighten us, He will not be mean or vindictive about it. But this thread is the Book of (the) God's Remembrance - there is no such word as God in the New Testament: it is always "the god" - and the Ego is the god who is the implacable recorder. He is not bitter; he makes, and what he makes lives. It is no use for us to say that such-and-such a thing is past. Time - past, present or future - is only another direction in space and the past is here as much as ever it was.
Memory, then, is all we have. It is the Book of Remembrance, and if we be muddy and impoverished and dull in this life it is not that we have not lived; it is that we do not remember. It is that we have set up barriers against the flow
of memory. All the wealth we have accumulated lies behind us, ours for the taking, and we are daily making the backward road harder to traverse, making our riches harder to bring into the Now.
How? Do not ask me. Examine your jewel-thread for yourself. Run back a little and see how you have let your, emotions blank it out in some places, tangle it in others. See how you have let the animal nature by its excesses make whole days confused and almost irrecoverable, how the thread has been let lose itself in the whirlpool of the passional life.
The Greeks laid great stress on remembrance. It was the root of a man's power. Plato said it was the way in which wisdom came into the world, by which he means, as Plato always does when he talks of cosmic things, it is the way in which wisdom gets into the world at any moment in our lives. The artist who creates does so by virtue of his memory, not merely the memory of this life "but of lives long gone and by virtue of dim reminiscence of a long past estate far higher than he now enjoys. Do you remember the passage in the Corpus Hermeticum "This race, my son, is never taught, but when he willeth it, its memory is restored by the god." The artist may not know his thoughts as memory. They may appear as intuitions but they are memory-born nevertheless. When the saint or the
sage seeks truth he does so by virtue of long gone aspirations revived for present use. When the leader of men sets himself to a work of governing or reforming, his great virtue is the vision from which he draws, a vision that renews itself from his Book of Remembrance with every new need. The weak man loses his vision, wavers and fails, the strong one is strong in his fountain of potent ideas.
The Greeks had a curious saying about this. They said a man could become master of his thread of life by drying it out, by driving the moisture out of it. A silly saying until we know the theory on which they based it. The animal soul, the maker of death and interruption and mortality, lived, they said, in the realm of water, the second of the four realms of earth, water, air and fire - physical, passional, mental and spiritual - that it was he who defiled the chain of reminiscence, it was his violence that scattered it and it was he who saturated it with his lusts. Their verb "to dry" was auein, and, from it they had the adjective "dry," austeros. They have given us a word to describe the process of purifying mind. The word is austerity.
And we, like the credulous people we are, have let our loose writers cheat us into believing the word implied severity, joylessness, bitterness, cold aloofness and self-torture, whereas all it means is putting out of mind those things that interfere with what we want to do in our true realm.
So austerity presents a new face to us. When the work we are doing requires that we bring what is fine and potent in our past into the present, we sacrifice a lesser to a greater, we become austere in something little and gain something great. Austerity takes its place then as a means. So long as it
is an end we will tear ourselves to pieces achieving it. When it becomes a price to pay for a greater end that attracts us, we can achieve it easily.
There are many austerities. The fool rushes in and tries to take them all. The wise man takes them as he finds the need for them. He knows, as Lord Buddha declared when he left the ascetics and turned to the Middle Way, that austerities are a vanity unless they are serviceable. I would not urge our Theosophical student to become austere. Rather I would urge him to constructive work, reminding him that he can make the work as great as he likes if he will pay as he goes.
The Hindu sages say there are four ways by which a man can have powers - siddhis. He can have them by birth. This is of the physical body. He can have them by drugs. This is of the passional body. He can have them by austerities. This, as we have seen, is of mind. There is another way. He can have them by devotion, which is of the spiritual realm. It is not exactly what we have meant by devotion. It is more like an extension of this same austerity I have spoken of, or a sublimation of it. (To Be Continued.)
THE ANNUAL ELECTIONS
Nominations for the office of General Secretary and seven members of the General Executive should be made by the Lodges within the next month and should be sent in before the first of April. Will all Secretaries of Lodges kindly see that this matter is brought before their respective Lodges and when nominations have been made, send them at once to the General Secretary? Nominations should be made through a Lodge and the consent of the parties nominated should be obtained.
Nominations should be sent in a separate letter to the General Secretary, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ontario.
- E. L. Thomson,
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Entered at Hamilton General Post Office as Second-class matter.
- Subscription: Two Dollars a Year
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
Charles M. Hale, Box 158, New Liskeard, Ont.
Miss M. Hindsley, 745 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Ont.
George I. Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Avenue, Toronto, Ont.
Peter Sinclair, 4941 Wellington St., Verdun, Quebec
Washington E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C.
Emory P. Wood, 12207 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, Alta.
Lt.-Col E.L. Thomson, D.S.O., 54 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
To whom all payments should be made, and all official communications addressed
EDITORIAL BOARD, CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
All Letters to the Editor, Articles and Reports for Publication should be sent to The Editor: Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ont.
Printed by the Griffin & Richmond Printing Co., Ltd., 29 Rebecca Street, Hamilton, Ontario
THE 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.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus
The first full meeting since the year of the regional committee of the German-Speaking Sections of the Theosophical Society was held in Basle in October. Joint lecture tours, joint summer schools and other plans generally to forward theosophical work in Austria, Germany and Switzerland were discussed. Adyar Verlag, Graz, owned by an official committee of the T.S. in Austria, in future will be recognized as the official publishing agency for the German-speaking sections in Europe. At present only nine books are available in that language, none by H.P.B. It is obvious from this report which appears in Theosophy in Action, the Quarterly Official Organ of the T.S. in. Europe, that it is a struggle to recreate the Sections and establish a theosophical publishing house for German books.
Rohit Mehta, formerly General Secretary of the All-India Federation of Young Theosophists, believes modern youth is interested primarily in three subjects. Writing in The Indian Theosophist, he lists them as discoveries of modern science, philosophies of social reconstruction, and researches into man's psychological makeup. Mr. Mehta asks whether theosophical lecturers and writers can present Theosophy in such ways as to show the gaps in modern science, the inadequacies of social philosophies and the incompleteness of psychological research. He says "It is quite certain that modern youth is not interested in religions and in religious ceremonials, nor is he interested in things which are commonly known as 'spiritual'."
OF MONTREAL LODGE - ITS ACTIVITIES - ITS ELECTIONS
During the Fall session, the members meetings were well attended and our Mr. Henry Lorimer conducted the Friday Class for the 18th consecutive year. We would like here to express publicly our grateful thanks to Mr. Lorimer for his untiring devotion in imparting of his vast knowledge and wisdom. Rev. Dr. R.G. Katsunoff gave an inspiring lecture in December on Dante's "Divine Comedy" and in January, our guest speaker was Mr. W.S. Harley and the subject of his talk, "The Reservoir of Consciousness". Our November Home Baking Sale proved to be very successful. We had the pleasure of a visit from Miss Edith Pratt of Birmingham, England and from Mr. and Mrs. D.B. Thomas, now residents of Florida. We also welcome new member Miss Bertha Loeff formerly from England.
At the Annual Meeting on January 8, the Montreal Lodge elected the following officers and voted the last Tuesday of each month to be an open meeting for all students of the Friday Class who so wished to attend this members meeting: -
President, Mr. G.D. Matsell;
Vice-President, Mrs. D. Downes;
Sect: Miss M.R. Desrochers;
Treasurer - Mrs. D. Roth.
Asst.-Treas., Mrs. H. Sora;
Librarian, Mrs. M.E. Blackburn;
Asst.-Librarian, Mrs. G.I. Leonard;
Auditor, Mrs. E. Goossens.
To all fellow-members, far and near, our sincere wishes for a year of Faith Peace ahead.
- M.R. Desrochers, Secretary.
GENERAL EXECUTIVE MEETING
The Quarterly Meeting of the Theosophical Society in Canada was held at 52 Isabella Street, Toronto on Sunday, January 13, with the following members in attendance, Miss M. Hindsley, Mr. Dudley W. Barr, Mr. Charles M. Hale, Mr. George I. Kinman and the General Secretary. Nothing beyond the ordinary routine was enacted. The financial situation as pointed out by Col. Thomson was about the same as this time last year. He was glad to report that seven new members had joined and that there were eleven new subscribers to the magazine. The Editor's report was very favorable and some discussion took place as to the advisability of printing certain articles and letters of a controversial nature. Two Voting Forms from the Recording Secretary, Adyar, had been received by the General Secretary for his decision in regard to Amendments to Rule 10 of the Rule and Regulations of the Theosophical Society governing Election Proceedure. These were placed before the meeting and it was decided that he should vote in the affirmative which was accordingly done. The next meeting was arranged for the first Sunday in April whereupon the meeting adjourned.
- E. L. T.
Paris 10, 12, '51
I read in The Canadian Theosophist of November 15, 1951, page 140, the following question which you put after President Jinarajadasa's letter...
"Why was it necessary to announce dissociation?...
As I happened to be one of the General Secretaries who originated this declaration, it is possible for me and in my opinion advisable, to answer this question.
During the German occupation of France and the Vichy regime, the T.S. was considered by the authorities as a Masonic organization and as such persecuted. A Spanish member whom I saw in 1949, told me that when the Franco regime began, Spanish theosophists were mistaken for Freemasons and that some lost their lives through this mistake of the Fascists. Certain magazines from Latin America announced monthly theosophical and co-masonic meetings on the same page and sometimes on the front cover. Therefore, there is association in some people's minds, and not in actual fact, between the Theosophical Society and Freemasonry. This confusion is baneful. Certain theosophists who are not aware of the consequences of their actions, because they live in free countries, do things which tend to reinforce among the people of other countries, the false idea that the T.S. is in some way linked with Freemasonry.
This is why I thought it would be advisable for the General Council to make an official declaration defining more accurately this position, not that such a declaration should bring a new element into the Society, but that it was of the nature of an authoritative reply to persons who might have doubts on the subject. The General Council considered it proper not to mention Freemasonry but to affirm a more general principle, one more susceptible of being applied to all organizations outside the T.S. and thus, put forth the motion known under the name of the Banaras Declaration.
It is possible that the word `disassociation' was not a happy one since it cannot mean in this case `to sever association from', the said association never having existed. English is not my mother-tongue and therefore I cannot pronounce on this point.
You now know the historical origin of this question and perhaps this explanation will dissipate any misunderstanding.
Please accept my best wishes,
Paul Thorin, General Secretary,
The Theosophical Society in France
We thank Dr. Thorin for the above explanation.
Possibly the intent of Disassociation was `to disclaim all association with', rather than `to sever association from'. But does the Society really intend to disclaim all association with the Liberal Catholic Church, Co-Masonry, etc., etc? What is the intention of the parties? There is no single word in the English or any other language that we know of, that means `to disclaim all association with an association with which we intend to maintain association'. Humpty-Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass would use one word to cover a number of ideas, but he said, "When I make one word do a lot of work like that, I always pay extra". We may have to pay `Dis-association' time-and-a-half for overtime.
ANNUAL FRATERNIZATION MEETING IN HELSINKI
(In 1947, L. Gordon Plummer visited some of the countries in Europe, and while in Finland, he spoke at a fraternization meeting in Helsinki. Such meetings have been held annually since then, and he has been sending a paper to be read each year. Following are some extracts from the message he sent to the meeting that was held last November. Ed.)
"The progress of the Theosophical Movement is made difficult because we see but dimly what is before our very eyes, and it seems that at this time we owe it to the future of the Theosophical work to face the issue honestly and fearlessly. We must dare to see that one of the prime causes of retardation in our work is the purely natural human trait which causes us to pray that we have not been forgotten by the Masters, and that they are as much interested in the Theosophical Movement as they were in the days of H.P.B. This seems to be a wholly laudable wish, but one of the dangers that we must guard against is the tendency to jump to conclusions about one or another of the more prominent members of this or that Society, and for lack of the ability to think the thing through completely, we tend to seek contentment in the feeling that "my Society" is the one that is favored by the Masters to the exclusion, or at least the partial exclusion of all the others.
"Is our attention then, so strongly fixed upon the Masters that we forget to inquire, `Is spiritual enlightenment still in the Theosophical Movement'? For without Truth in our hearts, the Masters become mere idols, and we fall an easy prey to anyone who claims to be in personal touch with them. Such claims appear to be unassailable, because those who make them know as well as we do that as a rule we have not the means of testing their validity. Thus, unless we are enlightened on the relationship that does exist between the Masters and ourselves, we can easily be intrigued by splendid-sounding words, and can be lured into rendering our devotion to apparitions which we mistake for the Teachers themselves, or for their agents.
"Now we all know that H.P.B. herself maintained that she was sent by her own Teachers, and that she had a certain work to accomplish on their orders. But do those who today claim to be instructed directly by the Masters know anything of the implications of such a privilege? Have they experienced the intensive training that always precedes such acceptance by the Masters? Do they measure up to H.P.B.'s mental, psychic and spiritual growth? If they do, well and good. They can then afford to declare from whom they received their training, if indeed it be necessary that they present their credentials. If not, they are self-deluded, and a heavy Karma of adjustment must be met by them in order to undo the harm that they will inevitably cause.
"Those who aspire to chelaship may safely assume that the road that leads to the Temple of Divine Wisdom is a long one, and that it is traversed through lives without number. Thus, in any one life, the prime aim and goal cannot be mere conscious acceptance of ourselves as students of the Masters. When this does occur in a few instances, this is purely incidental to the real goal. This in nowise minimizes the importance of the spiritual relationship that exists between Teacher and Pupil, but instead it shows it in its right perspective, for it would be maintained for specific purposes consistent with the general aim and direction of the life of the student. For his goal is no different from the goal of the Teachers themselves, and if it were not so, he would not be privileged to engage in the work he is doing. And what could this goal be other than the lifting of the heavy burden of suffering that is on the Earth? The implications of this go far deeper than at first might appear, for such humanitarian work must require knowledge of the spiritual nature of the universe and of man, and to attain to this knowledge in its fullness involves
the successful passing through the portals of initiation. The reason for this is that the student must equip himself to fight indifference and ignorance of spiritual things with the strong light of self-knowledge. In short, he must learn how to awaken the spiritual vision in man so that the causes of human suffering may be discovered and removed. And lastly, so far as the individual himself is concerned, his goal is to find union with his own inner God, the Divine Instructor within his own heart.
"What then are the first steps upon this path? Anyone can take them. They are primarily, the awakening of the finer instincts in a man's nature, so that one feels intuitively the spiritual yearnings of the human heart. And as one becomes more proficient in this, he recognizes that he is in need of more light, and he seeks to help. If he is wise, he will turn inward to the source of inspiration that lies deep within his own heart. In other words, he will constitute himself a chela of his own Higher Self. To do this is not the especial province of a few favored ones, but it can be done by all, and the more we are successful in this, the higher will be the general tone of the Theosophical effort.
`If we allow ourselves to become intrigued by the thought of a few being chosen as special agents of the Masters, we are likely to feel that the pacing of oneself in the attitude of disciple before ones' Higher Self is little more than a substitute for the real thing, and that it is a confession of our own inability to deserve special help from the Masters. This would be seeing the matter exactly in reverse. As a matter of fact, the only true chelaship that endures throughout many lives is that between oneself and his Inner Guide, for in cultivating this type of chelaship one develops his own latent Masterhood. And it is just that for which the Teachers are on the watch. They foster the growing inner light, and the fact that the student is not likely to become aware of their help for a long time to come is of very little importance, for at the beginning of the Path, as well as later on, when the relation between the Student and the Teachers becomes a conscious one on the part of the student, their whole relationship with the disciple is directed toward the fuller attainment of spiritual self-realization. Thus, depending upon the student, the relation between Teacher and Pupil may or may not be continued into another life. The relation between the pupil and his Higher Self is never lost."
THE WORK OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
Mr. Jinarajadasa's views on the apostolic succession and his predilection for religions and religious ceremonies are of importance solely because he is President of the Theosophical Society and regards himself, and is accepted by the membership generally, as a spiritual teacher, one whose every statement and action carries great influence for good or ill with the members.
It was Mrs. Besant who by putting herself forward as a great spiritual teacher (and allowing great claims to be made on her behalf) initiated the idea that the president of the T.S. would be a spiritual teacher. When we asked a high executive from Adyar why he regaled his audience of members with anecdotes of the personal habits of the President he told us that Mr. Jinarajadasa was something more than just a man, and on further enquiry he gave his opinion that any president of the Theosophical Society would ipso facto, be in the same vague but high category. That the President concurs in this is confirmed by the attitude he adopts
when addressing a members' meeting. Consequently it becomes more than ordinarily important to challenge and combat the President's opinions and actions when, as in the present instance, they are regarded as being derogatory to the welfare of the T.S. and its members.
There are two spiritual influences at work in the world, one leads to mediumship, the other to individuality. They are polar opposites; the person who becomes more of a medium becomes of necessity less of an individual and vice versa, the one who becomes more self-reliant and responsible is less easily influenced unconsciously from without. In the early days of the Theosophical Society the strong emphasis was upon individuality; to encourage members to stand upon their own two feet, to accept nothing blindly upon authority, however high the authority might be, to think for themselves and to take full responsibility for their decisions. A study of Theosophy made clear that the work of every member was to strive to bring the forces of his personality under control and to invoke the powers asleep at the heart of his being, and that no God or man could do this for him. This attitude is high-lighted above all in the Mahatma Letters whose authors leave us in no doubt as to the kind of men who would be acceptable to assist in their work for humanity. They have no use for followers, but have great need for utterly reliable, self-dependent individuals who have been tested and who can no longer be easily deceived.
It was very different fifteen years after H.P.B.'s death when A.B., bereft of the steadying influence of Judge or Olcott, and deeply influenced by C.W. Leadbeater's new Theosophy based upon his claim to infallible seership, started a rapidly increasing change toward the influence called Mediumship. With her amazing powers of oratory and her fatal ability to draw all and sundry to her in chains of dependence and affection, with a watered-down, distorted Theosophy, which made it a emotional appeal to the love of psychic marvel and mystery, Dr. Besant drew many, many thousands of simple, well-meaning, immature people into the Society, and killed it utterly as a spiritual centre and influence. Individuality was dead. Mediumship took its place.
Over the next twenty years self-reliant individuality died out completely, and dependence upon the "Beloved Leaders" rose to such insane heights that there was literally nothing too absurd for the members to fervently accept, when the word went forth. Mediumship was complete, pathological and quite unbelievable, were not the facts on record and still in the memory of many. Individual judgment and criticism abdicated completely, and practically every member ate and drank, thought and felt, and did what he or she was told. The T.S. became a religious organization in everything but name. Its spiritual values, brotherhood, tolerance, loyalty, harmony, truth, etc., in their pure austere beauty, disappeared, their place taken by emotional imitations such as have existed in organized religion at all times. And poor old God, the loving Father, defunct these many years so far as Theosophists were concerned, was hauled out of the rag-bag and propped up to receive the scorn of the infidels and the propitiatory prayers of the faithful; his job was to take the place of the eternally beneficent Principle which gives life, etc., an idea too abstract and difficult and alltogether too cold for the type of people being drawn into the T.S. at this time. Finally, as a crowning folly and a supreme insolence, the Society which was founded to free men from religious bigotry, superstition and dependence, hatched out a Church of its own with a
full panoply of priests, bishops, and remission of sins, and actually elected a bishop of this Church president of the Society.
Since the death of A.B. and C.W.L., this extreme state of mediumship in the members of the T.S. has died down to such an extent that today you could not tell a member of the Society from a normal person unless you conversed with him for some time. (Twenty-five years ago if you strolled in to a T.S. lodge to find out what this Theosophy was all about, you would hear of marvellous "Leaders" on the "Threshold of Divinity" and in intimate touch on the inner planes with the "King of the World"; and how the members in their astral bodies at night went out seeking the bewildered dead to comfort , and direct them, and further how Christ himself was shortly returning to earth under the auspices of the Society, a young Indian boy's body having been already prepared for Him. But today, it would be some time before you would be likely to hear anything which would overtax your sense of the ridiculous). Although C.W.L.'s teaching is still almost the sole subject of study, the members are I believe, no longer advised against studying The Secret Doctrine and Isis, and of late years the bar has even been removed from the Mahatma Letters, - a great advance! Dr. Arundale in the last years of his presidency, talked frequently of "Straight Theosophy" and appeared to advocate a return to it. But now Mr. Jinarajadasa, who since becoming President, has encouraged a broader based Theosophy than has been prevalent in the T.S., is putting his considerable influence as a spiritual teacher toward encouraging religions and religious ceremonies amongst members of the Society.
"What is wrong with religion"? will be asked. "Is there no place for religion in the world, and was it not the expressed intention of the Founders of the T.S. to make Theosophy the cornerstone of the future religions of the world"? So long as men are children (and consequently for thousands of years to come) they will demand religions for their comfort, to relieve them of responsibility, and to protect them from the overwhelming demands of Truth. The essence of religion in any age, in any country, is dependence. Organized religion teaches man to depend upon priests, upon gods, upon sacrifices, - anything from a goat to the Son of God, on ceremonial magic called sacraments; on saints and angels, and even Masters, on anything but upon himself and his own powers. What can have been the idea of making Theosophy the cornerstone of the religions of the future? Can it have been anything else but by injecting truth into religion to wean Man away from dependence into reliance upon himself and his own yet to be awakened powers? For what is the inescapable essence and core of theosophical teaching if it is not that man, - individual man, is in his innermost nature divine and so partakes of the divine life in all things soever; that he can invoke the powers of his divine Self as he learns to rely upon them; that he lives in a universe of law where no smallest effort can be lost but where the universe returns to him the exact equivalent of what he puts forth, nor more nor less. Such teaching will never be popular with priests or churches, or with weaklings, for it shows that man's future lies wholly and solely in his own hand to make and mold as he desires, and that no power on earth or heaven can alter this. Two courses lie before him; to steer or to drift; to take his life into his own hands and mold it in the direction of his chosen goal, or to drift.
on Nature's tides and currents to be molded helplessly by her ceaseless energies. There is no third alternative. This is a teaching for men, not children; it is a challenge to courage and strength and demands the very best that any man has to give, and has little of comfort to offer; but by its use man can grow up to the full stature of Man and eventually perchance to beyond Man. To keep such a teaching alive and vital and unsmirched, in a world still young and slavish, demands an unbreakable `Fraternity' of men of different types and temperaments united in this dominant idea and common task.
If this picture has in it the elements of truth it is to be seen how far we have come from the original lines laid down for the T.S. When we look back over the history of the Society and see what disastrous changes were brought about in a few short years by leaders and members who were self-deceived and believed themselves acting with the best of intentions; we cannot but realize the tremendous difficulties inherent in the task entrusted to the Theosophical Society. Where, moreover, we see that every great effort to enlighten mankind known to history has sooner or later suffered the same fate which has overtaken the T.S., and has degenerated into religious superstition and bigotry in order to foster and batten upon man's dependence, we can understand that the attempt to establish a source of light amongst men is to invoke a legion of devils to oppose and destroy it and that these devils have their chief residence within each of us. This is why we maintain that the Theosophical Movement calls for pioneers in the realm of spiritual thought, men resolute and strong enough to be capable of maintaining Theosophy as a vital spiritual force in the world, uncontaminated by human weakness and folly. Not the weak note that `Theosophy will give you back your religion' must be sounded, but a strong note which will appeal to that hard core in men which delights in attempting the impossible, such as `Come on in, you are bound to get hurt'.
The greatest mistake made by Adyar was in thinking that numbers were all-important and the measure of success. Quality is all-important, for it indicates strength, quantity is relatively unimportant and may be a danger for it represents weight. When the Society has a nucleus of instructed, self-disciplined members it can safely include a certain proportion of uninstructed undisciplined members who constitute the weight to be carried. More than this proportion inevitably results in dragging the teaching and attitude down to conform with personal inclinations and weaknesses.
How is the T.S., still suffering in mind and spirit from the debauch of the past, to fit itself once more to carry out the great and difficult task entrusted to it? There is only one way, it seems, which is for each individual one of us to give up childish things and, realizing our serious responsibility, to buckle down to making ourselves fearless truth seekers. In no other way does it seem possible to throw off the incubus of the past and get down to bedrock foundation upon which to build the `Fraternity' which will stand up to the stresses and strains to which it will always be subjected, and which can attract the attention of the highest minds of the race. This is a way by which we may yet maintain Theosophy a living, vital, spiritual philosophy for the enlightenment of mankind in its time of deepest darkness and to be available to 'form the cornerstone of the future religions of humanity.'
- W. E. Wilks,
Member Exec. Com.
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.