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Vol. XXXIII, No. 1 Toronto, March 15th, 1952 Price 20 Cents
IDEAS AND GUNS
By Alberta Jean Rowell
"Plato was right: ideas rule the world . . . . " - Mahatma Letters.
Radio commentators and news analysts of the press are never weary of reminding us that we are resisting the ever encroaching tide of communism on two fronts - the ideological and the military. In pursuance of the ideological phase the Colombo Plan, sponsored by Great Britain and the Commonwealth Nations, was instituted to render technical assistance to economically backward regions of the world. By this friendly gesture the Western democracies hoped to gain the goodwill of their Asian neighbors. For the deep and widespread hostility, engendered by both imperialism and the denial of social equality to those of other colors and creeds, is a matter of grave concern to the cosmopolitan and lover of his kind.
Now, in the same spirit that fostered the birth of the Colombo plan, intelligent observers of the world situation are publicly advocating that United Nations combatants be trained in right ideas and attitudes as well as in the use of guns. All for the purpose of gaining the goodwill and esteem of those people whose wars of liberation they are fighting.
Some of our war correspondents, whose business it is to convey to the reading public eye witness accounts of events occurring at the Korean theatre, state categorically that the United Nations have not really conquered the foe in that far-flung area. And this in spite of the fact that our combat units have penetrated beyond the thirty-eighth parallel. Why? Because they have lost the war on the ideological front. In other words, they have signally failed to convince native Koreans of the superiority of our culture and our ways. Winning military victories in the name of freedom is an empty accomplishment, they point out, when the value of ideas and their accompanying attitudes have been ignored.
This is the opinion of Pierre Berton, a journalist of considerable standing in Canada and article editor of Maclean's magazine. In a signed editorial under the caption "The Real War in Korea", August, 1951, he bluntly charges that under the aegis of the United Nations and Western civilization the military are humiliating the Korean people. He flatly condemns "the military expediency of the moment" that characterizes the United Nations policy and expresses regret because of our soldiers' inabiltiy to enact the roles of "ambassadors of peace." Not that he is suggesting for a
moment that our fighting men brandish the sword of war in one hand and wave the olive branch in the other. But he feels by their manners, deportment and racial attitude they are not serving the cause of that peace which their armed resistance purports to strengthen.
Mr. Berton recounts incidents, of which he had personal knowledge being on the spot, to support his indictment. He writes:
"I have some vivid memories of Korea and many of them I wish I could forget.....There is the memory of the wretched young man with his feet half eaten away, dying of gangrene and refused medical assistance by a succession of MOs because has was a Korean and didn't count. There is the memory of the Canadian private who emptied his Bren gun into a Korean grave and the memory of the GI in the bus at Pusan who shouted loudly at a comrade about how much he hated the gooks - and the look on the face of the Korean bus driver who overheard him."
Racial intolerance in the resistance army is not confined to the common soldiery, according to Mr. Berton. It extends to the officers' mess. For instance, he tells of dining in a native restaurant with a Korean university graduate and accredited war correspondent "who wore the United Nations patch and uniform" but was barred from the officers' mess simply because he was a Korean.
Mr. Berton voices regret that the United Nations as a body has evidently not yet learned the lesson "that you can't burn away an idea with gasoline jelly but can only destroy it with a better idea". As an ameliorative he suggests schools of social behavior for soldiers. "The idea* needs to be drilled into the troops," he declares, "as surely as the manual of arms". [* The italics are mine.]
In Mr. Berton's article the onus of responsibility for such inhumanity to man is not shifted onto the shoulders of the individual combatant trained to fight but not taught by his superiors how to act. He solemnly arraigns all of us.
Incidentally, the defence headquarters of Canada decided, not so long ago, that Canadian soldiers should go to Europe armed with both ideas and guns. Prior to the appearance of Mr. Berton's challenging editorial the Canadian Press released a news-story (Ottawa, July 20/51) announcing the compulsory attendance of the Europe-bound twenty-seventh brigade at current history lectures. The course will include the UN's records and prospects. The averred object is to educate the soldier "in his responsibilities as a Canadian citizen and a representative of his country."
This new concept of ideas and guns, inherent in both Mr. Berton's suggestion and Canadian defence headquarters' decision, should be warmly heartening to the theosophist who, unlike the dialectical-materialists,* considers ideas superior to though co-eval with materialtiy. [* According to the Marxist it is social-economic conditions, and not the deep underlying driving force of Spirit, which solely determine cultural patterns and the highest aspirations of the human heart.] And this new reverence for the idea, though it has gained as yet but a shaky foothold within the precincts of officialdom, bids fair to be the prelude to other and more drastic changes in a field where fighting efficiency and morale have been thought to be the only necessary requirements. Might not courses in comparative religion, in some distant future, be the logical development from the teaching of current
history or social behavior to troops? * [* The noted Canadian psychiatrist, Dr. Brock Chisholm, expressed the opinion recently in a radio broadcast that a knowledge of comparative religion was necessary for effective work in the international field.] The law of karma, operative in slow-moving curves, has taught the student of Theosophy to bide his time and not expect reversal of long established trends in an instant. Yet he can note with satisfaction the leaven of Theosophy at work in every constructive movement which tends to release man more and more from the bondage of materiality.
To arm men with ideas as well as guns would be a step in the right direction - toward the goal when national misunderstandings and rival interests will be fought out on the ideological front alone. For some day - we know not when - Colombo plans will replace guns, bombs and tanks; possibly when those spiritual ideas of the East, which once learned can never be relinquished, invade and conquer the citadel of the Western mind.
TRUTH AND TOLERANCE
The desirability of tolerance is often emphasized by Theosophical speakers, and at meetings of the lodges, chairmen usually quote the sentence, "Every member is expected to show the same tolerance for the opinions of others that he expects for his own."
This is a worthy saying and we should respect the ideal. Certainly we should never prostitute it by quoting it in support of a demand for tolerance towards those opinions of ours which are silly, vicious or downright stupid, nor should we render it a nullity by refusing on the grounds of `tolerance' to criticize anything.
The problem of tolerance and criticism is raised in the following article which was published by the United Lodge of Theosophists London in its Bulletin of Nov. 15, 1951, under the title of Some Words on Daily Life.
"It is divine philosophy alone, the spiritual and psychic blending of man with nature, which, by revealing the fundamental truths that lie hidden under the objects of sense and perception, can promote a spirit of unity and harmony in spite of the great diversities of conflicting creeds. Theosophy, therefore, expects and demands from the Fellows of the Society a great mutual toleration and charity for each other's short-comings, ungrudging mutual help in the search for truths in every department of nature - moral and physical. And this ethical standard must be unflinchingly applied to daily life.
"Theosophy should not represent merely a collection of moral verities, a bundle of metaphysical ethics, epitomized in theoretical dissertations. Theosophy must be made practical; and it has, therefore, to be disencumbered of useless digressions, in the sense of desultory orations and fine talk. Let every Theosophist only do his duty, that which he can and ought to do, and very soon the sum of human misery, within and around the areas of every Branch of your Society, will be found visibly diminished. Forget SELF in working for others - and the task will become an easy and a light one for you. . . .
"Do not set your pride in appreciation and acknowledgment of that work by others. Why should any member of the Theosophical Society, striving to become a Theosophist, put any value upon
his neighbors' good or bad opinion of himself and his work, so long as he himself knows it to be useful and beneficent to other people? Human praise and enthusiasm are short-lived at best; the laugh of the scoffer and the condemnation of the indifferent looker-on are sure to follow, and generally to outweigh the admiring praise of the friendly. Do not despise the opinion of the world nor provoke it uselessly to unjust criticism. Remain rather as indifferent to the abuse as to the praise of those who can never know you as you really are, and who ought, therefore, to find you unmoved by either, and ever placing the approval or condemnation of your own Inner Self higher than that of the multitudes.
"Theosophy can only find objective expression in an all-embracing code of life, thoroughly impregnated with the spirit of mutual tolerance, charity, and brotherly love. Its Society, as a body, has a task before it which, unless performed with the utmost discretion, will cause the world of the indifferent and the selfish to rise up in arms against it. Theosophy has to fight intolerance, prejudice, ignorance, and selfishness, hidden under the mantle of hypocrisy. It has to throw all the light it can from the torch of Truth, with which its servants are entrusted. It must do this without fear or hesitation, dreading neither reproof nor condemnation. Theosophy, through its mouthpiece, the Society, has to tell the TRUTH to the very face of LIE; to beard the tiger in its den, without thought or fear of evil consequences, and to set at defiance calumny and threats. As an Association, it has not only the right, but the duty to uncloak vice and do its best to redress wrongs, whether through the voice of its chosen lecturers or the printed word of its journals and publications - making its accusations, however, as impersonal as possible. But its Fellows, or members, have individually no such right. Its followers have, first of all, to set the example of a firmly outlined and as firmly applied morality, before they obtain the right to point out, even in a spirit of kindness, the absence of like ethic unity and singleness of purpose in other associations or individuals. No Theosophist should blame a brother, whether within or outside of the association; neither may he throw a slur upon another's actions or denounce him, lest he himself lose the right to be considered a Theosophist. For, as such, he has to turn away his gaze from the imperfections of his neighbor, and centre rather his attention upon his own shortcomings, in order to correct them and become wiser. Let him not show the disparity between claim and action in another, but, whether in the case of a brother, a neighbor, or simply a fellow man, let him rather ever help one weaker than himself on the arduous walk of life." - A Master of Wisdom.
We can accept readily the noble spirit of the above words, but they do bring before us the problem of correct action in exercising that broad tolerance which should be part of our code of life, and at the same time working within a Society which should fight intolerance, prejudice, ignorance and selfishness . . . . without .fear or hesitation, dreading neither reproof nor condemnation . . . . and set at defiance calumny and threats. No wonder that the Teacher warns that the task must be performed 'with the utmost discretion'.
In the early days of the T.S. there was but one organization centered around H.P.B. While it had no creed and always encouraged complete independence of thought, there was a common acceptance of a few fundamental ideas. Certainly, at that time, there were not two sets of teachings, incompatible with each other, being put for-
ward as Theosophy. Today that situation has changed. There are now not one, but several Theosophical organizations, and unity of common approach to the doctrines has been lost.
Five months after H.P.B.'s death, Mrs. Besant, who was then editor of Lucifer, the magazine founded by H.P.B., wrote a lead article for that magazine which set out clearly and unmistakably her atttiude towards the teachings brought by H.P.B. Here are some quotations from that article:
". . . Theosophy is a body of knowledge, clearly and distinctly formulated in part and proclaimed to the world. Members of the Society may or may not be students of this knowledge, but none the less is it the sure foundation on which the Masters have built the Society, and on which its central teaching of the Brotherhood of Man is based. Without Theosophy, Universal Brotherhood may be proclaimed as an Ideal, but it cannot be demonstrated as a Fact. . .
"Now by Theosophy I mean the 'Wisdom Religion,' or the 'Secret Doctrine,' and our only knowledge of the Wisdom Religion at the present time comes to us from the Messenger of its Custodians, H.P. Blavatsky. Knowing what she taught, we can recognize fragments of the same teachings in other writings, but her message remains for us the test of Theosophy everywhere... Only, none of us has any right to put forward his own views as "Theosophy" in conflict with hers, for all that we know of Theosophy comes from her. When she says "The Secret Doctrine teaches," none can say her nay; we may disagree with the teaching, but it remains 'the Secret Doctrine,' or Theosophy; she always encouraged independent thought and criticism, and never resented difference of opinion, but she never wavered in the distinct proclamation 'The Secret Doctrine is' so-and-so. . .
"Theosophists have it in charge not to whittle away the Secret Doctrine. . . Steadily, calmly, without anger but also without fear, they must stand by the Secret Doctrine as she gave it, who carried on unflinchingly through the storms of well-nigh seventeen years the torch of Eastern Wisdom."
Mrs. Besant later departed from that viewpoint and others have done so also. There is now no hesitation in presenting as Theosophical, doctrines which are in conflict with the writings of H.P.B. Theosophists have `whittled away the Secret Doctrine', they have not stood by it - and the whole Movement suffers from this departure.
Once before her death H.P.B. was shown a vision of the Society as it would become after her demise. She recoiled in horror from the sight; she had apparently never foreseen that the doctrines which she had presented and around which the Society had been formed, might be twisted, distorted and repudiated by future members of the Society. An example of this is to be found in a recent book* [* Ave, Maria! by Madeleine Powell, Pioneer Publications, Worthing, England.] which has had favorable reviews in several Theosophical magazines and which was published with the blessing of a prominent Theosophical worker. Two quotations will suffice; "Nevertheless there is in Heaven, a Mighty Being in Whom are centred the powers and aspects we have reviewed; the Mother of God is the Queen of Angels, and very busy directing the activities of Angels, Devas and Invisible Helpers... Students or pupils who look for the Master, or who seek contact with the Supreme Teacher, too often forget that they have in Mary, as a Being, [sic] their most powerful Mediator." This is repugnant of the whole spirit of the Secret Doctrine; if H.P.B. saw that in her vision, no
wonder her strong heart broke.
How can those who revere the teachings of H.P.B. and the Masters be `tolerant' of such and other travesties of the original teachings? This is not a categorical question; we are deeply concerned in the problem. We find ourself in a position analogous to Arjuna's on the field of Kurukshetra. "O Krishna, now that I behold my kindred and loved ones arrayed against each other, my heart faileth me . . . Tutors, sons, fathers, nephews, uncles, friends and comrades stand before me ready for battle. Even though they slay me, I do not wish to slay them . . . Rather would I bare my breast to the weapons of the Kurus and await their coming, unresistingly and unarmed, than engage in battle against my kindred." But ever and always there come the strong words of Krishna, "Thou speakest words lacking wisdom. Thy utterances have a wise sound but express only outer wisdom. They are true, and yet not wholly true - the missing half is the deeper portion . . . Know, O Arjuna, that the Self that inhabits the body is invulnerable to harm, hurt or death - why troublest thou thyself? Why shouldst thou allow thyself to be made a weakling by childish grief, where no grief should be? Instead it is far more worthy of thee to do thy duty manfully and resolutely."
The criticism which appears in this magazine from time to time of various Theosophical opinions is not given lightly; it is not motivated by any animosity toward fellow members, nor by any desire to appear different or clever. The writers are among the many who have a deep and abiding respect for Theosophy - the straight, unadulterated Theosophy of the Masters and H.P.B. The right of others to believe as they see fit is freely conceded. However, when opinions which are incompatible with the original message are put forward by Theosophists as being Theosophical, and when it is manifestly impossible to reconcile them, or to conceive of any transcendency in which such opposites cease to be opponents and can be resolved into a unity which would embrace both sets of doctrines - then it seems necessary and desirable to lay aside `tolerance' for such opinions, to criticize them and attempt to offset their destructive influence in the work of the Theosophical Movement.
Without doubt the phrase, tolerance for the opinions of others has been overworked. Opinions should not be subject to tolerance or intolerance; they should be judged on their merits as opinions. A barrister does not ask for tolerance for his legal opinions; he has a right to a fair, impartial hearing and to an unbiassed judgment between his views and those of the opposing counsel; nor does a scientist demand tolerance for his conclusions - he asks for critical examination. The opinions of Theosophical students are no more sacrosanct than the opinions of other groups.
Criticism of opinions does not involve enmity towards persons holding those opinions. In the fraternity of this Theosophical work there is a subtle link which binds all members together, and every one of us is joined to all others. We bring to the work old affinities and antipathies; some come in with a background from previous lives of ritualism, dogma and priestcraft; some bring their partial understanding of magic and interest in psychic powers; some bring personal qualities of ambition, pride, egotism, some `lightly laying aside what others prize' bring in a quiet humility in wisdom. We are, or should be, a band of freethinkers engaged in the quest for truth - and over and above all differences of opinion there is that common concern for others which links us together. As individuals, we share
in the karma of the Movement; those of us who are members of the Adyar Society, share in the karma that attaches to that Society, its shames and glories, its mistakes and its wise actions, its wisdom and its follies. All these constitute the field in which we stand. We, like Arjuna of old, must survey the field and, without casting anyone out of our hearts, must fight to keep Theosophy, the message of the Masters brought by H.P.B., free from distortion. That Message in its purity can enable the Universal Brotherhood of humanity to be demonstrated. Without it, the Society will become but a minor sect, more concerned in fatuous harmony than in truth.
NOTES FROM A NEOPHYTE'S SCRAP BOOK
Theosophy is a glorious sense of being free. Free from the bondage of superstitions, free from the shackles of creeds and dogmas - free from the fear of incurring the wrath of anthropomorphic gods, jealously claiming man's sole allegiance.
Theosophy is the opening of doors and windows in the mind, allowing the blessed sunshine of its truths, like the healing rays they really are, to restore us unto that blessed condition, where we can be children of light and walk gladly therein.
Theosophy is the feeling of being one with the universe, of mingling with the gods, of listening in to their conversation, as they discuss the mysteries of time and being.
Theosophy is the voice that comes to us in the still of the night. That counsels, "Man know thyself. Wake now from thy slumber, shake off the shackles of flesh. Let thy spirit soar to undreamed of heights. Train thine ears to catch the whispered counsel of thine Atman; thine eyes, to behold the formless worlds."
Theosophy is wrestling with nature, forcing her to release her stranglehold on some of her jealously guarded secrets. A struggle, requiring the submission of her phenomena to the level of natural laws. The pressing of nature to reveal the identity and functions of her associates, and of her chief in particular.
Theosophy is the quintessence of all world religions. The collection of their finest gems enshrined in the temple dedicated to truth, `the highest religion of all'.
Theosophy is a way of life, the essence of the flower of life. Bud-like, we unfold our petals, each petal representing one particular attribute. For example, love of truth, one petal, self development, another. The many petals together, constitute the one flower. Let us pour of ourselves, our essence, on the altar of self sacrifice, that it may rise as a sweet savor in the eyes of the Lord, the `Lord' being "the Rex Lux, the Lord of splendour and of light, our immortal God within us."
Theosophy by opening men's eyes to see that they can, without the benefit of priests and dying saviours, attain immortality by the exercise of their own inherent powers, feeds the fires of hope in the breast of mankind. Smouldering fires they may be, in most cases, due to dampnes of the regular theological fuel, which only causes the fires to smoke, and thus clouds the mind. Humanity without hope, would have no incentive to strive for better things. Therefore, the feeding of such fires, represents the crowning glory of Theosophy, because in so doing, it has achieved the ultimate in service and consequentially deserves the undying thanks of humanity.
- H. G. Ladd.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
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THE THREE TRUTHS
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
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.
In the December Theosophist, the President states that the Canadian Society has the reputation of having constituted itself the "watchdog" of the Theosophical Society. We did not care for the article, the tone seemed wrong, and three errors of fact in one sentence were difficult to pass over without comment. However, like Pollyanna, we learn to look upon the happy side, and so we accept the "watchdog." As The Voice of the Silence says, "If Sun thou can'st not be, then be the humble planet." So here's to the faithful watchdog, quiet, unobtrusive save when danger threatens, ever ready to defend his trust, able by unerring instinct to distinguish friend from foe, gentle and tolerant with children and innocents, fierce and terrifying to evil-doers, asking for nothing save the opportunity to serve, a faithful friend, a loyal comrade, an incorruptible ally, one who will give his life but will not fail his master - the Watchdog . . . Sounds almost egotistical. Thank goodness, the President thought of it, not we.
According to a recent survey made by the National Geographic Society up to 60,000,000 homeless refugees are moving throughout the world because of wars, political persecutions, natural catastrophies and over population in certain areas. The cycle of Kali Yuga, the Black Age, moves relentlessly; some of its influences and effects were foretold in the Vishnu Purana. (see S.D. I, p. 404)
A Buddhist revival movement in Ceylon is served by a new newspaper, The Buddhist World. A Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists has suggested to the Ceylon Government that all legislation contrary to the principles of Buddhism be repealed.
Atlantis, The Antediluvian World, by Ignatius Donnelly. Harper Bros., New York. 1949, 355 pp., Canadian Price $6.00
This is a modern, revised edition, edited by Egerton Sykes, an outstand-ing Atlantean scholar, (Fellow Royal Geographical Society, Royal Central Asian Society, Royal India Society, etc.).
First published in 1882, Atlantis is referred to by H.P.B. in The Secret Doctrine as "that wonderful volume of Donnelly's," and she speaks of the author as "one of the most intuitive writers of the day."
Since the 1880's more than 5,000 works in 20 languages have been printed about the Atlantis theory that there once existed in the Atlantic Ocean, opposite the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, a large island, which was the remnant of an Atlantic continent.
Mr. Sykes takes into account new facts which have come to light since Donnelly's time, and while some rearrangement of his material has been made, all of it is here, plus additional facts and corrections revealed by more recent studies of the subject. The latter are indicated by the use of slightly slanted italics to distinguish the new material from that of Donnelly's edition.
Lewis Spence, the senior British authority on Atlantis says, "Among the names which stand out most prominently in Atlantean science, are those of Plato and Ignatius Donnelly." Theosophists would, of course, add H.P. Blavatsky, who has provided a wealth of information in both Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine.
Here is a valuable book which might well be in every Theosophical library.
We regret to announce the death of two members of Toronto Lodge. Mrs. Harriet Jane Bailey who died on February 11th, joined the Society over twenty-five years ago and gave much time and energy in its service. Mrs. Bailey was at one time Treasurer of the Lodge and also acted as Travelling Librarian, a work which brought her in touch with students across Canada. During the time that Mr. and Mrs. J.K. Bailey lived in St. Catharines, their home was a meeting place for the St. Catharines' Group. Mrs. Bailey in later years lived near Bracebridge, Ont., and although she was latterly in poor health, she gave her competent services freely to several local organizations. A Theosophical service was held in Toronto on Friday, February 15th.
Mr. John B. Chamberlain was another member of long standing. He never held office in the Toronto Lodge but attended all meetings and classes and was particularly interested in the Sunday Morning Secret Doctrine Class. He died suddenly on Friday, Feb. 15th, while listening to a radio report of the funeral service for the late king. The Theosophical service which was held on February 18th, was attended by members of the Toronto Lodge and of other organizations in which Mr. Chamberlain was a member.
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 Librarian, 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ont.
By Roy Mitchell
There was another implication of the Greek verb auein from which we get our word "austerity." It was "to dry with heat," "to parch" and in the Greek system of classification of the planes of being it carried the idea that not only did the thread of thought-images require to be purged of its passional or moist content, but that the drying could be best brought about by inducing a flow or warmth from the fire or spiritual realm.
This may seem silly to a person who has not perceived the correspondence between the physical, passional, mental and spiritual functions and the properties of earth, water, air, and fire that manifest themselves throughout the universe. Even to our Theosophical student who has not learned to understand the superior planes of being in terms of their strict analogy with the elements of the physical plane, it may seem like arbitrary symbolism or poetic conceit. Of course it is not. The wind that sways the trees is the visible expression of a wind that sways the souls of trees. Such a thing is difficult to demonstrate under our present limitations of sense, but we can easily see why it must be so, and once we get into the realm of must be we are more fertile than when we allow ourselves to be hypnotized by phenomena. Plato argued long ago that a must-be is of the archetypal world of pure ideas, a world we know by virtue of our long-forgotten past but which we cannot quite link up with this world because of the passional element that distorts our mind-images. That is, the images are blurred, distorted and unsteady because we see them in the water.
The idea, then, about austerity seems to be that we start, remaining in the plane of mind, to drive out of our thoughts of effort of will, the destructive or obscuring or misty elements we have picked up in our commerce with the animal soul, and each time we expel a feeling we gain a mental power; that is, we have a clear thought about something and to know a fragment of truth about anything and have it readily available is to have a measure of power over it. We could stay here in mind, cleaning and tidying up and gaining great power thereby and some of us do exactly this. But sooner or later we must suspect that the business of fighting our emotions to improve our minds is at best only a little less selfish than feeding our emotions. That when we forego the delights of a good dinner to make sure of the applause that follows a good lecture, for instance, we are not necessarily spiritual; we are really trading in a little selfishness for a slightly bigger one. Of course we make a gain and in the early stages it will be a great gain. Any time we lift ourselves up a notch by sacrificing the little end to the bigger one we have gone forward in our work.
As this trading goes on however we realize that there is a better way of doing it, a process of drawing down spirituality into mind and thereby, shall we say, evaporating our passions. It is a thing we do now unconsciously when we are stirred. Artists do it when in the full tide of creation, they forget food and sleep and animosities in the effort to incarnate their vision. Reformers do it when they think more of reform than they do of themselves as reformers. We all do it with those we
The mechanism of it is a little intricate. Let us say of any work that it has three aspects. There is, first, its purpose; second, its detail as work, and, third, its reward. Its purpose is the high end it serves. The detail is a mental operation. Its reward is an emotional feasting on money, applause or prestige.
The man whose focus of consciousness is preponderantly in the emotions confuses purpose and reward and, as naturally, fuses them into one. He conceives them both as reward. That is, his purpose is the attainment of a reward. He goes into a thing for its reward - money, fame or whatever it is - and if you asked him why he did anything, although he might dally for a moment with noble reasons he would sooner or later betray himself into the admission that he was in it for what he could get out of it. For this reversal of values of course the price he pays is ineptitude and uncertainty - a minimum of vision. He thinks he is a very clever fellow and the more he thinks it the less true it is.
The man whose focus of consciousness is preponderantly in mind and the processes of mind derives his satisfaction from the exercise of mind itself, very much as the owner of a fine watch might enjoy the operation of its mechanism and its ability to keep time to a fraction of a second a day without having any necessity in his life to make it matter whether he was an hour late or an hour early. The man thus centred in mind takes his delight in the increase of mental certainty and mental power. He is of the type of the artist who thinks art is self-expression; his austerities are assumed for the increase of his intellectual expertness. His resentment of emotion is because it gets in the way of his creative processes. His reward means no more to him than it permits him to continue his work. His purpose is only a guide to his processes. The price he pays for his distortion of values is coldness. We borrow unconsciously a bit of symbolism from the Greek; we say he has no fire.
The man who is preoccupied of spirituality works in mind just as do these two others, but the purpose of his work is its preoccupying aspect. He also fuses reward and purpose but for him the reward is the fulfillment of his purpose. The details of mental imaging are the means to that fulfillment. He does not recognize self-expression as art. Art for him takes count not only of a maker but also of a recipient. It must serve. Whereas the first man thinks of himself as against others and the second as of himself alone, this man thinks of himself as in behalf of others. He has come upon that greatest of all truths in life, the one I spoke of early in these essays, that a man cannot go to Heaven alone. The essential quality of Heaven is "togetherness."
He has learned that all things must finally merge in their purpose and that the great error in life is to mistake means for ends. He has learned that as purpose envelopes us it dries out our emotional cravings, or, as the Greek would have said, the spiritual fire when we arouse it and bring it into mind will dry out the watery elements that saturate the thread of life.
How shall we bring down the fire? All at once? That will be very hard to do, so hard that few people will accomplish it. The oldest and greatest occult practice indicates that it should be done little by little. As the old occultists used to say, when we wish to purify an idea we should "devote" it.
Here is another word whose important implication we have lost. We have learned to think of devotion as a kind of absorption in religion, as a habit of what healing or beautifying or helping
mind which in a sense removes us from everyday affairs, as a preoccupation with the spirit. So, perhaps it is, but these are distant views of it; they are vague and without detail. They provide no entrance to the practice of it but admit more often into a negative and spineless inertia .
The Romans, who made the word and used it, had a very definite sense for it. De, in behalf of, and vovere, to vow or dedicate, meant with them to offer something in behalf of something else. To make a sacrifice, to consecrate something. They derived their word from their Mysteries where the process was as it is in all mysteries to offer something in mind to the spiritual nature, in order that it might be cleansed or dried out, or, as another symbol had it, to offer that which was animal in their thoughts to the fire of the spiritual world.
Many persons, of course, under the distortion that creeps into every mystery teaching as it becomes exoteric, took the symbol literally and rushed out to buy an animal, offering which they burned to the honor of the God, but after all, their mistake, loathsome and cruel as it was, was scarcely worse than ours of muddling up the idea of devotion with notions of sentimentality, piety and emotional religion.
Devotion in the mysteries was what it must be with each student, a practical, everyday process of making thought more potent by offering it to the spirit. Not all thought at once, but any idea that the student wishes to make vivid and useful in life. The method is to take the idea with all its train of emotions and by conscious effort lift it up. Then, thinking round and round it, he should try to see what purpose it could have in his contact with his fellow-men. What place does it play in the scheme of brotherhood? What use could be made of it? And magically as he does so he will find that the dross in the idea disappears. It is burned out. When he thinks of his idea as taking years to come to its full fruition, impatience goes, the desire for reward and for praise. Immediacy and its temptation to be tricky will wither up and patience will take their places. As pride in the idea vanishes new vistas will appear; the idea will grow magically. He must not say, as so often, "This is a fine idea," because right afterwards he is sure to say, "It is mine, and I am a fine fellow for thinking so fine an idea." Then the idea will become soiled and dull. He must ask, "Of what use could this be to those about me, to mankind, to the One God?" It is not necessary to hold it long. The student should just lift it up and, if he cares to, vow it deliberately to the service of mankind, in so many words. Then he can drop it and go on with something else. He has purified a place in the thread and when it comes again, as it will in its due cycle, it will glow with the intensity he has given it. It will be a great moment, the like of which can carry him to Heaven. This is the alchemist's trick of making dross into gold.
I wonder if I have made myself clear. Devotion is a greater way because it is a better way than the something-for-something austerity I spoke of, not because a theologian's God likes it better, but because it is easier and surer and more thorough and more enduring. We do not fight an emotion. We dry it out.
So if our student desires to clarify his work and give it fire, let him add this kind of devotion to it from time to time until the devoting of his work becomes a habitual means to vision. It does not mean that he must give up intellection. It means that he can thus become master of the most dynamic of all means of intellection.
(To Be Continued)
SINCE BLAVATSKY, A REVIEW . . . 1931-1951
It is 120 years since Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was born. It is over 60 years since she died. The world has seen revolutionary changes since then. Physicists now use light-years to measure space. Should we not replace the mile and the kilometre, used for countless decades of foot and horse travel, by Time as a linear measure?
H.P.B. records that she met her Master in London in 1851. What sort of a world was it then? The Turkish Empire extended in Europe as far north as Austria, in Asia to Egypt. In London the first great Peace Festival -The Great Exhibition - was being held at the Crystal Palace to establish universal goodwill amongst nations. So great was the anticipation of its beneficent effect that Tennyson wrote, "Till the war-drums throbbed no longer, and the battle flags were furl'd, in the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World". A century later we now have the United Nations, which, with all its seeming failures to meet world problems, has resolved many matters that nations hitherto settled by wars.
The Mechanical Age
Six years before H.P.B.'s birth, and in 1825, the first railroad had been built from Stockton to Darlington in England, railroads soon skirted most of Continental Europe, and in the newly created American Republic, vast lands lying west of Kansas were being settled. Later the Atlantic and the Pacific were linked. Earlier in the nineteenth century Napoleon had been forced to retreat from Moscow and the fastest pace his sorely pressed army could muster was five miles per hour. The effects upon mankind of mechanical inventions may be evaluated in a broader sense than that of orthodox history, with its narrow nationalism, when it is recognized that man's evolution had become so quickened that revolution had become the rule. As a result, universal brotherhood has become more widely realised by virtue of an expansion of our knowledge of the physical world, by the conquest of sea and land and air by steamship, train, radio, and television. To meet one's neighbor is to know one's neighbor. The day by day mind-contact of the peoples of nations is a creative factor destined to uproot frontiers.
Man Has A Mental Karma
During H.P.B.'s life, the unfoldment of man's knowledge in mechanics was paralleled by great accomplishment in the field of electricity. In 1835 an electric telegraph had been contrived based on the work of Volta, Galvani, and Faraday. Electric-statics, that area where electricity and magnetism find contact, held the attention of the scientist for the next quarter of a century. In 1877, when H.P.B. wrote Isis Unveiled, the world knew of Alexander Graham Bell's invention of a magnetic telephone a year before. Maxwell had devised a means of checking the measure of intensity of natural magnets in 1864. The Theosophical Society was formed in 1875. Man was beginning to learn about solar and cosmic vibrations. H.P.B. told the world about them, as they were revealed to her through her studies of the Ancient Wisdom.
Then Science had found that magnetism was a latent property present in some natural metals. Now it is believed that magnetism is present in all things. It is the opinion of the writer that magnetism exists in nothing as a distinct property, but is an everflowing vibration manifesting itself through space. It encounters resistances when striking objects.
The Masters and Modern Science
The great achievements of twentieth century science were made possible by the work of others in previous centuries.
Can it be that, at the appropriate time, and with a higher knowledge of Man's destiny, the Masters sent back an ancient wisdom to the modern world through H.P.B.?
In 1881, the Maha-Chohan, gave a letter through the Mahatma K.H., to A.P. Sinnett. He wrote: - "The doctrine we promulgate being the only true one, must, supported by such evidence as we are preparing to give, become ultimately triumphant as every other truth. Yet it is absolutely necessary to inculcate it gradually, enforcing its theories, unimpeachable facts for those who know, with direct inferences deduced from and corroborated by the evidence furnished by modern exact science".
This Master also had an acute awareness of economic troubles among mankind. In this same letter he wrote: -
"As we find the world now, whether Christian, Mussalman, or Pagan, justice is disregarded and honor and mercy both flung to the winds. In a word how, seeing that the main objects of the T.S. are misinterpreted by those who are most willing to serve us personally, are we to deal with the rest of mankind, with the curse known as the `struggle for life' which is the real and most prolific parent of most woes and sorrows and all crimes?"
Man has sown the seeds of a mental karma, in these later centuries, fraught with explosive possibilities. Unlike salt, which during the Middle Ages was a source of monopolistic revenue to many a throne, the fruits of an inventive age cannot be impounded. The world is becoming smaller in terms of time taken to pass over it. Brotherhood is becoming an imperative necessity.
Modern Invention, Socialism, and the Shape of Things to Come
While H.P.B. was spending her childhood and young womanhood in Russia, a source of wonder to all because of her rapport with "elementals", and later was engaged in long journeys to other lands; there lived in England three men, Robert Owen, Karl Marx, and Charles Darwin. None of them ever met the others.
Robert Owen, 1771-1858, was a practical business man. He insisted that his workers were actively performing socially useful functions when they produced wealth. He pressed the passage through the British Parliament of the Factory Act forbidding industrial employment of children under the age of nine. He was the first in England to perceive the impact of invention on industry. He taught that the basic problem ultimately would be that of distribution of wealth rather than its production. His magnificent mind visualised the moral obligation of his class towards the poor.
Karl Marx, 1818-1883, was a German-Jew exiled in London, and was a man of great scholarly attainments. A more vigorous mind than Owen, materialistic in outlook, he did not preach the class-war as modern Communism would have us believe. He gave the world a basic economic interpretation of history. He pointed out the truth which Owen perceived - and hoped to avoid, viz. that the concentration of wealth into fewer and fewer hands would create a class without property. Owen taught a wider vision to the rich; Marx doubted if they could accept it.
Charles Darwin, 1809-1882, was a scientist. His thinking was destined to shake the very foundations of the church. He did not intend this. A quiet and gentle personality, he merely sought to coordinate all that science had found out before him in the special
realms of zoology, botany, and the natural sciences. The Christian scientist, Wallace, living at the same time, arrived at similar conclusions about evolution. It was not religion that suffered a mortal thrust at the hands of the scientist. It was a man-made theology. The Church found evolution a belief contrary to the Creation theory. Hence Darwin and Huxley, who followed him, were ridiculed.
But Darwinism has overcome ridicule. Modern science and religion are coming closer together in the realisation that deeper meanings lie behind ancient truths. The nineteenth century church could not survive the broad popularisation among the masses of the work of Charles Darwin. And in the shape of things to come we must say that the problems that are now with us as the fruits of yesterday are:
(1) How to Reconcile Social Security with Freedom:
This is, in its very essence, a spiritual issue. Socialism was defined by the 19th century writer, Herbert Spencer, as being "the coming slavery". As the modern world shakes with the stir of awakened nationalisms in the Orient, those who lead these revolutions are beset with inherent problems. They may not be able to provide economic security. In the Occidental world we are confronted with the issue of distribution of wealth. Can we hope to balance our economies? Man can have both social security and freedom, but only down that royal route of earthly progress, that of giving more than he hopes to receive.
(2) How to Maintain Peace:
The challenge to the world of the Communist world is productive of greater receptivity in the minds of the rich to ideas akin to those in the early work of Robert Owen. To escape the "spectre that haunts Europe" to quote Marx, modern realists must think in terms of giving their wealth away. That is why the Colombo Plan, a gesture to help Asia by the Commonwealth, and the U.S.A., will bring fruits of better relations between East and West. In England the foundation of a welfare state has appeared. But peace everlasting will come only when nations put their house in order and share the world's wealth.
And The Theosophical Society? 1875-1951:
Signs are not beyond notice that the T.S. could yet be a useful body in the especial field of helping human progress. Within the Society more mature understanding of the meaning of the Disassociation Policy is needed. The policy is not, as some members of the Society think, that we have no part to play in the secular activities of mankind, nor does it imply that the Lodges cannot cooperate with good causes. Since H.P.B., the world has entered a cycle of speed. Evolution is now in motion before our eyes. When she lived amongst us we had no electric light, sea trips were still a lengthy ordeal, and nations were insular and very orthodox. When the books Isis Unveiled, The Voice of the Silence, and The Secret Doctrine, were given to the world by this very lonely woman, man's mind was entrapped with many prejudices
Today in Toronto, Canada, a Joint Council exists for Christian and Jew; the Rockefeller Foundation has recently made a large gift of money to a Canadian University to establish a chair for Islamic Studies; Nations are asking the United Nations first before rushing into armed conflict. The nucleus of Universal Brotherhood for which the Masters gave much hope, and to aid in the creation of which the Theosophical Society was formed, exists amongst mankind.
To further develop this nucleus by any means, even outside of the Society itself, we might as Members direct our energies. - Frederick E. Tyler.
ORIGINAL AND UP-TO-DATE THEOSOPHY
We lend freely by mail all the comprehensive literature of the Movement. Catalogue on request. Also to lend, or for sale at l0c each post free, our ten H.P.B. Pamphlets, including
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BLAVATSKY INSTITUTE PUBLICATIONS
- ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPEL by H. P. Blavatsky.
- THE EVIDENCE OF IMMORTALITY by Dr. Jerome A. Anderson.
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- THE BHAGAVAD GITA, A Conflation by Albert E.S. Smythe.
Owing to the higher costs of binding it has been necessary to increase the price of the above books to One Dollar ($1.00) each.
- ANCIENT AND MODERN PHYSICS by Thomas E. Willson has been republished by The American Philosopher Society and may be purchased through the Institute at the price of $1.00.
- THE EXILE OF THE SOUL by Professor Roy Mitchell has been published in book form. Attractively bound in yellow cover stock. This sells at the price of $1.00.
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