Vol. XXXIII, No. 11 Toronto, January 15th, 1953 Price 20 Cents
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document
THE NEW YEAR
A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! This seems easy enough to say, and everyone expects some such greeting. Yet, whether the wish, though it may proceed from a sincere heart, is likely to be realized even in the case of the few - is more difficult to decide. According to our theosophical tenets, every man or woman is endowed, more or less, with a magnetic potentiality, which when helped by a sincere, and especially by an intense and indomitable will - is the most effective of magic levers placed by Nature in human hands - for woe as for weal. Let us then, Theosophists, use that will to send a sincere greeting and a wish of good luck for the New Year to every living creature under the sun - enemies and relentless traducers included. Let us try and feel especially kindly and forgiving to our foes and persecutors, honest or dishonest, lest some of us should send unconsciously an "evil eye" greeting instead of a blessing . . . . .
. . . . . The future lies in the present and both include the Past. With a rare occult insight Rohel made quite an esoterically true remark, in saying that "the future does not come from before to meet us, but comes streaming up from behind over our heads." For the Occultist and average Theosophist the Future and the Past are both included in each moment of their lives, hence in the eternal PRESENT. The Past is a torrent madly rushing by, that we face incessantly, without one second of interval; every wave of it, and every drop in it, being an event, whether great or small ....
And let no one imagine that it is a mere fancy, the attaching of importance to the birth of the year. The earth passes through its definite phases and man with it; and as a day can be colored so can a year. The astral life of the earth is young and strong between Christmas and Easter. Those who form their wishes now will have added strength to fulfill them consistently.
- H.P. Blavatsky, in Lucifer Jan., 1888 and 1890.
THE SYMBOL OF THE TREE
(Following is a condensation of a letter sent by L. Gordon Plummer to the Theosophists gathered in Fraternization in Helsinki, Finland.)
In this message, I propose to touch on some teachings that I believe to be the very core of our philosophy. They should be of the utmost importance to a gathering such as this, because it is in the realm of the Esoteric Philosophy that all our differences should vanish. In the ultimate truths concerning the nature of Man and the Universe there is no concern about the differences in opinion, such as exist between the various Theosophical Societies as well as between individuals. If this were not the case, the whole Esoteric Philosophy that H.P.B. brought to us would be constructed upon a very flimsy framework indeed, and would hardly have been worth all the labor and heartache that individuals and groups of individuals throughout the world have taken upon themselves in the course of the three-quarters of a century since the Society was founded.
There is one way by which the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom have been preserved for humanity, and it is perhaps the best way that could have been devised. This is through the medium of the myths and legends. Although we moderns have the tendency to scoff at them as if they were meaningless stories founded upon outmoded superstitions, the fact nevertheless remains that each group of legends still carries its own vitality, and a subtle atmosphere still surrounds them. One cannot read the old Greek, Welsh, Scandinavian, Hindu, American Indian, Peruvian, or Egyptian legends without feeling certain indefinable responses which, I have always felt, are an inward recognition of deep philosophical teachings which are concealed in these stories.
Take just one instance from the Scandinavian Myths, the meaning of the World-Tree, Ygdrasil. You remember that this tree is pictured as having its roots in the abode of the Gods, and its leaves and branches form the world. What a marvelous symbol! It is capable of so many interpretations. It can be shown to be a symbol of the Esoteric Philosophy, wherein the trunk represents the one fundamental proposition that underlies the whole philosophy, and which can be stated in one brief sentence. This one thought is the gateway to an understanding of the deepest mysteries concerning Cosmic and Human life. Briefly, it is this: Man and the Universe are one. A full and complete grasp of this primal truth involves an understanding of the inner structure of the worlds, the Solar System, the Galaxy, and the endless systems of Galaxies with which modern science is so concerned at the present time. And equally marvelous, it also involves an understanding of the nature of Man, which is as complex a study as any that may be undertaken about the nature of the Universe about us. It is so complex because the various elements of the universe have a direct bearing upon the various elements in the human constitution, and the evolution and destiny of the one are inextricably linked to the evolution and destiny of the other.
The Tree Ygdrasil represents the various aspects of the Esoteric Philosophy, all stemming from this one primary concept, the oneness of Man and the Universe, as the limbs and branches all stem from the trunk of the tree. Before enumerating some of these aspects of the Ancient Wisdom, however, I
would like to touch briefly on some other interpretations of the symbol.
The trunk of the tree may be taken to represent the Ancient Wisdom which is rooted in the Divine Consciousness which is the Heart of the Universe. All the important religions of the world are as the branches of the Tree of Knowledge, and all derive their vitality from the trunk, whether the followers of these religious systems know it or not. The great philosophies and sciences that have lighted the pathway for the human race are likewise branches stemming from the trunk of the Tree, and whereas their approach to the problems of life and death may be different their purpose is the same - to bring to the human race a fuller understanding of the meaning of life.
Again, the trunk of the Tree may be taken to represent the essential spark of Divinity which is the core of every human being, and from this Divine spark radiate all the energies, and faculties that result in the highly complex structure that we call Man. There are many kinds of trees, and there are many kinds of human beings. Some trees are evergreens, and are beautiful throughout the years. They are like the Great Ones whose strong influence is felt throughout the centuries. Then there are the deciduous trees that lose their leaves in the winter. Perhaps a great many of us humans who seem to have lost the knowledge of our Divine Selves are like these trees that have shed their leaves for a time, and in which the life-giving sap has been indrawn during the winter months, so that to all outward appearances the tree seems to be dead. But for these trees there is another Spring ahead in which they will come to leaf and flower, and so also for the large portion of the human race that neither knows nor cares, there is always another Spring. Well may we be optimistic knowing that the Divine Life is
always present in reality, and though outwardly the world seems to be in the winter-time of its spiritual understanding, we may look forward to a time of new growth and beauty.
The student of the Esoteric Philosophy may prefer an interpretation of the Tree which extends beyond our world alone, to include the Solar System as a whole. The trunk of the Tree may represent to them the Divine Consciousness which is at the heart of Father Sun, and the limbs and branches are then seen to represent the Planets, forming as they do a marvelous Tree of Life inhabited by numberless races and classes of beings, the so-called "kingdoms" on the earth being but a few, and representative of the limitless armies of living beings that find their homes throughout the entire Solar System.
And finally, the trunk of the Tree may represent the Cosmic Consciousness that is behind the operation of that aspect of Nature that is called by some students "the Hierarchy of Compaission." The branches of the Tree are seen to be the lofty beings that operate throughout the various departments of Nature - beings which guide the spiritual destinies of numberless races of sentient beings throughout our own Solar System.
The portion of this Hierarchy of Compassion whose specific province is the spiritual guidance of us Earthlings, appears to us as the Buddhas, the Christs, the Saviours of all ages, whose representatives are among us today. They are known to us collectively as the White Lodge, or the Brotherhood of Adepts, who are interested in and who foster all truly spiritual movements in the world.
So with these several interpretations of the Tree of Life as a background, we may briefly consider a few of the many branches of the Esoteric Philosophy, remembering once again that the trunk
represents the fundamental and primal concept: Man and the Universe are one. The various branches that spring from this fundamental concept might be enumerated thus:
(a) a study of the nature of man;
(b) a study of the relation that exists between the human race and the other races of beings on the Earth that we call the kingdoms of nature;
(c) a study of the Rounds and Races with its companion study of the building of the Globe Chains;
(d) a study of the origin of the Solar System with its companion study, the Outer Rounds; and, following from all these,
(e) a study of the mysteries of Death - the wonderful journeyings of the human entity when he has freed himself of the chains of his own forging that bind him to the Earth. And lastly, we may add, and perhaps the most lofty of the branches of the study, is
(f) that which has to do with Initiation, and which ties together all the other branches, for it is in Initiation that the Adept experiences what we can study by instruction only. It is in Initiation that the Adept makes the wonderful peregrinations through the Spaces of Space, and comes to know at firsthand the sublime adventure of Death.
Do we not feel an expansion of the consciousness when we consider these lofty themes? Do we not spring at once into realms of thought where the petty differences that hold men apart vanish, and where we can realize the great importance of working together as a body of Searchers for Truth who know the value of that which has been entrusted to us? If we can grasp the meaning of this, the purpose of our meetings will be magnificently fulfilled.
- L. Gordon Plummer.
San Diego, California, U.S.A.,
November 16, 1952.
AN OUTLINE OF THEOSOPHY
By W.B. Pease
(Continued from page 160)
The Masters The reader has now been of Wisdom: given some idea of the range of subjects which Theosophy coordinates into a rational system, and it only remains to present a few facts with regard to the Masters of Wisdom and their agent, Madame Blavatsky.
As to the former, a great deal of evidence might be brought forward in proof of their existence and of the existence of the great body of knowledge of which they are the guardians, but I do not propose to produce it here, because theosophy does not depend upon any authority for its acceptance, and because any readers of this introduction who may have been sufficiently attracted by anything herein contained to wish to enquire further, will find all the evidence they need in books already published, such as The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, The Occult World, by A.P. Sinnett, and Echoes from the Orient, by W.Q. Judge. Those whose interest or intuition has not been aroused, would not be greatly impressed by any arguments, however conclusively they might be presented. To sympathetic enquirers, however, the following information may be of interest, because it relates not only to the Masters, but also to the doctrine itself, to an ideal of which They are practical exponents and to a goal that may be reached by any aspirant
sufficiently determined to succeed and willing to make the necessary sacrifices with a motive that shall place his efforts at the service of humanity for which these Masters live.
If we accept the theory of man's spiritual and intellectual evolution, and then consider the faculties he is known to possess for obtaining and assimilating knowledge, and also the power of his creative thought, as exemplified by numerous recent inventions, we shall have to concede that, unless his development stops short somewhere, man is at the entrance stage of a creative hierarchy of intelligent beings to whose evolutionary ascent no limit can be imagined. We contend that the stopping short idea is unreasonable and that there is good reason to suppose that the evolutionary urge will continue indefinitely after all that this earth can teach has been mastered. And further, that as no rung of the evolutionary ladder can be missed, there must come a moment to every successful climber when the great choice, previously referred to, must be made, and the decision taken that will either free him from further contact with the earth and its affairs, or bind him to the service of humanity on this globe through countless ages until its end. And if he has evolved spiritually as well as intellectually, so that love of humanity, compassion and sympathy have become a dominant part of his very nature, then it is but reasonable to admit that the latter course may be taken by him. The Masters of Wisdom, or Mahatmas, are men who have so chosen.
That they should form such an organization to carry out their plans as the Great Lodge, already referred to, is what might be expected. Their methods, of course, would naturally differ in many respects very widely from those of any ordinary association. For instance, their complete command of such powers as clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, etc., would make it perfectly easy for them to communicate with each other at long distances without using any of our contrivances. One way in which they aid humanity is by accepting as their pupils aspirants who, by the unselfishness and self-abnegation of their lives, and by the purity of motive with which they have devoted such powers and knowledge as they may have possessed to altruistic work, have proved their fitness to receive the occult training and instruction that will at length enable them to work with some of the hidden laws and forces of nature. Before this can be done, however, the aspirant must have proved his willingness to conform to many very severe requirements with regard to his mode of life.
The Ancient Knowledge: It may be asked how this body of knowledge, said to be complete as far as the lower planes at least are concerned, which is guarded by this mysterious Lodge, was first acquired, especially as it has been stated that the world has never been without it. The answer is that there have been humanities on other planets that may have long since passed away, and that men who had gained knowledge and power in those humanities reincarnated among the early races of this earth in order to instruct and rule them. These were the Divine Kings and patriarchs, echoes of whose fame are still to be found in the ancient records and scriptures, myths and legends of the world. They taught and guided the men who, with their constant aid, built up those ancient civilizations, traces of which are still to be found in many widely separated parts of the earth - in central Africa, in central America, Asia, southern Europe and elsewhere. Had not some knowledge of the arts and crafts been brought to this earth from pre-
existing planets, it is doubtful whether mankind could ever have begun to rise from a state of savagery.
Since those early days, this race of Mighty Men of Old has retired from the sight of men, but has not deserted them. "Knowing neither rest nor Nirvana, spurning heaven, and remaining constantly on Earth for the salvation of mankind," these Adepts and Initiates live secluded from the world, but in touch with its needs, says Katherine Hilliard, in Abridgment of The Secret Doctrine, p. 409.
H.P. Blavatsky and Her Work: We come now to Mme. Blavatsky, to whom, in the belief of many students, the world is far more deeply indebted than most people realize. The publication of her first notable work, Isis Unveiled, immediately aroused fierce opposition in many quarters because the forcefulness of her argument and consequent danger to the prestige of both eastern and western established religious sects, and to financial interests and prerogatives connected with them, was clearly recognized. As the Society which she founded became active, and knowledge of the newly stated doctrine began to spread, its opponents were driven to use the only effective weapons available to them, namely, misrepresentation of the teaching, and unscrupulous villification of its principal exponent.
Lies and slander proved to be so efficacious that, to this day, Mme. Blavatsky is often supposed to have been nothing more than a clever trickster and charlatan, her writings to be unworthy of the attention of any sane man or woman, and her adherents and admirers to be but credulous dupes or fanatics.
Needless to say, very few, if any, of the people who hold these opinions have ever read one single word of her own books; indeed, one of the most serious effects of these misrepresentations and slanders has been that they have kept the general public from reading and judging for themselves. Her work can be fairly judged only by what she herself wrote. A great deal has appeared since her death under the name of Theosophy which gives a wrong impression of what she taught.
For this reason I shall now draw attention to a few facts and considerations which may help to remove the contempt and ignorance which have cast such a dark shadow over Mme. Blavatsky and her work.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was born in the south of Russia in 1831. Her father was an officer in the Imperial army and her mother the daughter of Princess Dolgorouki. She received the education that was usual for young ladies of her class and time, that is to say little beyond music, modern languages, deportment, etc. This fact has an important bearing on our argument. The fascinating story of her extraordinary childhood must be passed over, and the reader referred to Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky, by A.P. Sinnett, also Reminiscences of H.P. Blavatsky, by Countess Wachtmeister.
As a young woman, and for many years, she travelled extensively, often into countries almost untrodden by Europeans, for she had a great, and for those days, a very unusual contempt for the conventions of social life. At the age of twenty-two she first tried, without success, to reach the forbidden land of Tibet, and a few years later dwelt for some time in Little Tibet, or Ladakh.
She fought, dressed as a soldier, in the war for Italian unity, under Garibaldi, against the papal forces; was wounded, and picked up for dead. Soon after recovering from her wound she made another attempt to penetrate to the fastnesses of Tibet, and this time was successful. It was during the sub-
sequent years spent there that she obtained the training and knowledge that fitted her to undertake her Mission.
Her two great works, Isis Unveiled, and The Secret Doctrine, were published respectively in 1875 and 1888. These works, which occupy several large volumes, were followed in 1889 (shortly before her death) by The Voice of the Silence, a translation of Eastern treatises containing unique esoteric teaching, especially with regard to the "Great Choice", referred to herein. She also wrote a great many other books, articles and essays.
It is the circumstances in which these were written, their extraordinary erudition and the fact that they contain many assertions related to almost every branch of modern science that anticipate the findings of recent research (in some instances by many years) that afford irrefutable evidence in black and white that Mme. Blavatsky had access to some reliable source of profound knowledge. Mrs. Alice Leighton Cleather, in a recently published book * devotes a chapter to "The Writing of The Secret Doctrine," in which the author most convincingly sets forth evidence to show that H.P.B.'s knowledge surpassed that of expert scientists in their own special fields of research. [* H.P. Blavatsky, Her Life and Work for Humanity.]
I must content myself with but two short quotations. With regard to erudition, Dr. J.D. Buck, author of Mystic Masonry, is quoted by Mrs. Cleather as saying:
"Everyone who has ever read her larger works, even with curious and literary interest, has remarked the almost innumerable references to many books in many languages and written in almost every age. Profound, indeed, would be the knowledge and priceless the opportunity to verify all these references . . . known to have been made apparently from memory, for it is well attested that she had a small number of volumes of any sort within her reach, and, for months together never left the house in which she was living. Fortunately I have one of the largest libraries of occult and rare books to be found in America, and as my studies progressed I kept buying books to which she referred in Isis Unveiled, in The Secret Doctrine, and in her almost numberless fugitive essays, for the purpose of verifying her statements as well as for further research. Through the clues thus afforded by her writings I was almost unconsciously gathering a mass of testimony in support of the old Wisdom-Religion."
And with regard to her scientific knowledge: Dr. Carter Blake, one of the secretaries of the British Association in 1893, says: -
"On ordinary lines it is strange that an old, sickly woman, not consulting a library and having no books of her own of consequence, should possess the unusual knowledge that Madame Blavatsky undoubtedly did. Indeed, it is incomprehensible, unless she were of an extraordinary mental capacity, and had spent her whole life in study. On the contrary, from many sources we gain undoubted evidence that Madame Blavatsky's education had not even been carried as far as that of a high school student of the present day. But it is a fact that she knew more than I did on my own particular lines of anthropology, etc."
Then follow instances of this superior knowledge.
(Continued on Page 174)
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Authorized as second class mail, Post Office Department, Ottawa.
- 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.
Letters intended for publication should be restricted to not more than five hundred words.
Printed by the Griffin & Richmond Co., Ltd., 29 Rebecca Street, Hamilton, Ontario
NOTES AND COMMENT'S BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
Ballot forms were dispatched on the 15th December last and I trust every member has received his and will exercise his prerogative to vote so that we shall know definitely the wishes of the electorate as far as the two candidates are concerned. All ballots should be in headquarters by Jan. 21st; any received after that date will not be counted.
It is with deep regret that I note the passing of Mr. J.R. Catterall who died on November 8th, 1952. He was not a member of the Society, but was a subscriber to the Canadian Theosophist since 1937. He was a frequent visitor to the Toronto Lodge meetings, and was an ardent theosophist in all but name. Our sincere sympathy is extended to his family.
It is with much pleasure that I welcome the following new members into the Society: - Mrs. Flora A. Warden and Mrs. F. Fletcher both of the Vancouver Lodge; Mrs. Barbara Treloar; Miss Dorothy H. Wright; Mr. Frank Holsinger; of the Toronto Lodge; Miss I.M. Hartman, Miss Mavis W. Wyatt, of the Montreal Lodge; Mrs. Edith Lowrie of the Hamilton Lodge and Mrs. Evelyn Hansez of the Edmonton Lodge.
A New Year's Thought: How heartening and thrilling are the words from The Messiah, "O Thou that tellest good tidings to Zion - Arise and shine; for thy light is come." I feel confident that the New Year will see a change for the betterment of humanity - out of seeming chaos the Light of a new dawn is apparent and the heart of mankind looks for a world of peace, understanding and of goodwill. Let our thoughts dwell on this consummation so devoutly to be wished. Never in the history of man have those beautiful word's "Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men" been so fraught with deep and earnest meaning. May they find an echo in the hearts of all.
- E. L. T.
Dec. 27th, 1952.
Plato was right: ideas rule the world; and, as men's minds will receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete, the world will advance: mighty revolu-tions will spring from them; creeds and even powers will crumble before their onward march crushed by the irresistible force. It will be just as impossible to resist their influx, when the time comes, as to stay the progress of the tide. - The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, p. 24.
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist,
Your issue of August 15 carries an unsigned article apparently by the Editor, stating that Rule 10 (the procedure for a presidential election) "as it now stands is an attack upon the democratic foundation of our Society".
The article asks a number of questions, all of which with one exception would ordinarily be in order. The exception is the final question suggesting "ulterior motive". As to the others, the writer could have consulted the General Secretary for the answers from his official files.
The files of the Recording Secretary at Adyar supply the following information
1. About the middle of 1946 the President suggested Revision of the Rule because of criticisms that had been addressed to him. The Vice-President writing from America on September 9 proposed that after the Rule had been studied, "a summary of the various ideas on the subject should be circulated before the members of the General Council are called upon for a vote on any specific form of amendment".
2. On February 21, 1947, the President placed the criticisms in writing before all members of the General Council, together with a draft revision of the Rule and an explanation of the proposed changes and stated that this was not for voting "as undoubtedly General Secretaries may suggest modifications or additions".
3. Discussion by correspondence ensued and on April 14, 1947 the President sent to the Council members a new draft - again not for voting together with a statement of the reasons for the proposed further revision.
4. Further discussion ensued and the new form was generally approved but some additional changes were proposed. In July 1947 the revised form without all the proposed additional changes was submitted to Council members for voting, together with a statement of the suggestions which had not been incorporated and the arguments against them.
5. In the course of the voting the proposer of the omitted changes also accepted them subject to consideration of a further amendment which provided that seven names instead of three be listed in the ballot. The reasons against a larger number having already been considered and presented, this amendment was separately submitted for vote of the Council members.
6. At the General Council meeting of December 25, 1947, the result of the voting was announced - the amendment lost, the unamended revision of July 1947 carried.
7. All of the aforementioned drafts, explanations and requests for suggestions and voting data were sent to all the General Secretaries as were also the minutes of the meeting of Decembr 25 at which the revised rule was adopted.
8. In the course of discussion general Secretaries representing the following National Societies participated
Finland, U.S.A., England, Puerto Rico, Hungary, India, Australia, Wales, Germany, New Zealand, (some participating at two or three different stages) and four members of the Council who were not General Secretaries.
9. The Canadian General Secretary did not vote or comment on the amendment but voted "No" on the revised Rule, but only on the ground of the unnecessary expense of an election if there were but one candidate. (The explanation of the provisions for a "Yes" or "No" ballot in such circumstances was included in the statements submitted to the Council members).
10. Two further amendments to Rule 10 were submitted to the Council members on November 20, 1951 and December 18, 1951.
The first authorized the Executive Committee to remove from among the nominations the names of any who had in the meantime died or withdrawn, before determining the three highest and provided that these three (or more in certain circumstances) should be immediately notified of their selection and that if any then withdrew within ten days their names should be eliminated.
The second provided that if a candidate died during the election new nominations should be called for and a new election held.
11. The Canadian General Secretary voted in favor of both these amendments.
This is the history of the amendments of Rule 10, and all of the essentials of this history are in the files of the Canadian National Society. This summary is given in response to the suggestion in your article that "the members would be welcome an explanation". The detailed reasons for each change in the Rule can be supplied by the General Secretary. I may add that nothing of this has at any time been withheld from him. The members may perhaps now be left to decide the question of "democracy" and "ulterior motive".
The Rule as it now stands really allows a much wider choice of candidates than previously, because each member of the General Council may make as many as three nominations whereas previously he could make only one. The rule now also provides that each General Secretary must consult his National Governing Council regarding nominations, a condition not previously required.
(Miss) Helen Zahara, Recording Secretary.
We are very glad to publish this letter from Miss Zahara whose impersonal, efficient and painstaking work as Recording Secretary has won our deep respect.
We frankly admit that we were not aware that the new Rule 10 was discussed in such detail before being brought to the final vote, but nothing contained in the correspondence which we have since seen changes our view that the democratic basis of the Society is imperilled by this Rule. In fact, the protest reminds us of a story of Abraham Lincoln, who in the course of examining a farmer who was a witness in a trial, suddenly asked, "How many legs has a cow?" "Four" was the reply. "Yes", said Mr. Lincoln, "but suppose we call the tail a leg; then, how many legs would the cow have then?" "Why, said the farmer, "five, I suppose." "Oh no," said Mr. Lincoln, "calling the tail a leg does not make it a leg." Calling Rule 10 democratic, does not make it democratic.
The article complained of read in part, "Was the new Rule an unfortunate but well-intentioned attempt to protect the membership from a superfluity of candidates - a condition which has never arisen - or was there behind it the ulterior motive of excluding any possibility of a reform candidate?"
Motive is very difficult to determine, very often motive lies hidden deep within the mind, unacknowledged even by ourselves. Evidence of motive can be
inferred from actions and relevant circumstances. When it is remembered that Mr. Leadbeater considered it important that only `our own people' should hold office in Lodges and National Societies; when Rule 10 makes it very difficult if not impossible for a reform candidate to be voted upon; when it is noted that the only reform candidate in this election was quite effectually `left at the post', we do not think that the question of motive was out of order, but we are quite content to let the Rule be regarded as an unfortunate but well-intentioned attempt. The situation is complicated by the action of Mr. Sydney Cook in withdrawing after the General Council votes had been counted. Mr. Cook's attempt to decide personally who would be the next President has back-fired to some extent.
Miss Zahara suggests that the new Rule is wider in scope because it requires each General Secretary to consult with his Executive Council before making nominations. This is fair enough - but why single out one Rule, and thus by inference grant to the General Secretaries the right to act in all other matters without consulting their Executive. Surely it is understood by now that when the General Secretaries are requested to vote on any isue, each must act as persona designata, one designated to convey the wishes and decisions of the Executive of the National Society; General Secretaries do not act in their own right in these matters.
The Society is faced with a situation which should be corrected. It is unthinkable that a President of a Society such as ours should continue to hold office under the circumstances of this election. A mistake has been made; very likely the National Societies did not realize the effect of the new Rule (but we note that England, for one, voted against it). We all share in the karma of this, but there is no use sitting back and regretting it. Let us clean it up and go on from there.
Rule 10 should be corrected as quickly as possible and when the democratic basis has been restored, the incoming President should resign and a new election be held. This might result in the same President being re-elected, but it would remove the stigma of holding office for seven years under the suspicion of a manipulated election.
Some day we will rise out of this welter of bylaws, rules, amendments, sub-amendments and so forth, which while necessary for organizational purposes, kill the spontaneity of the spirit which binds all theosophists together in this work. Let us turn for relief to Whitman:
" (Were you looking to be held together by the lawyers?
Or by an agreement on paper? or by arms?
- Nay - - - nor the world, nor any liv-ng thing, will so cohere)
To hold men together by paper and seal, or by compulsion, is no account;
That only holds men together which aggregates all in a living principle, as the hold of the limbs of the body, or the fibres of plants."
- D. W. B.
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist,
Mr. Pease's Articles on Theosophy are very interesting, but he appears to accept The Key to Theosophy by H.P.B. as infallible, and the last word on the occult. H.P.B. did not claim infallibility.
As a student of various teachers, it seems apparent to me that H.P.B.'s description of Devachan, and a mother's `imaginary children', refers only to one who has not yet awakened on that high-
er plane. Obviously her thoughts are turned inward, and she sees her own thought-forms as realities. She may dwell in that dream-state while it has value. Her awakening will come when she is ready for it. This premise does not conflict with the words of K.H. that Devachan "is a state of perpetual maya." Isn't all life that until we reach the ultimate Reality?
Spiritual happiness does not depend on ignorance of the troubles of earth-life, but comes when the eyes have become "incapable of tears" and see beyond the transitory things of this world.
There is real danger in the "back to Blavatsky" movement - that we create new 'infallible' books and an `infallible' teacher. The Protestant Churches have done that with the Bible, calling it the Word of God. Truth alone is the Word of God. The Churches are afraid to face the Truth, so are failing in their appeal to the world of today.
Theosophy is a growing, living thing and can have no man-made boundaries or limitations. It must go on to ever greater heights; go forward always, unshackled by fallible books or traditions, yet mindful of its great debt to past teachers.
Mrs. A. Glen, Locust Hill, Ont.
The Mahatma Letters, pages 101-103 seem to substantiate H.P.B.'s teachings respecting Devachanic consciousness; for example on page 103, "A mother from a savage tribe is not less happy than a mother from a regal palace, with her lost child in her arms; and although as actual Egos, children prematurely dying before the perfection of their septenary Entity do not find their way to DevaChan, yet all the same the mother's loving fancy finds her children there, without one missing that her heart yearns for . . . The pleasures realized by a Red Indian in his `happy hunting ground' in that Land of Dreams is not less intense than the ecstacy felt by a connoisseur who passes aeons in the wrapt delight of listening to divine Symphonies by imaginary choirs and orchestras."
Devachan, it is taught, is a state of illusion - true, `all life is that until we reach the ultimate Reality,' but K.H. is not speaking of Ultimates, he is saying that devachanic existence is even more dreamlike than earthlife. Devachan is but one of many after-death states; it would seem reasonable that those whose eyes have become `incapable of tears' and who have conquered illusion, would not be drawn into the deeper illusory delights of devachan.
The `back to Blavatsky' movement arose from necessity; Leadbeaterianism, which is based upon the unsupported and unverified psychic fantasies of one individual, was promulgating doctrines which were directly contradictory to the teachings of the Masters. It is unfortunate that the necessity arose, but the fact is that Leadbeaterianism has permeated the Society, and has given an entirely different concept of Theosophy than that contained in The Mahatma Letters and The Secret Doctrine. `Back to Blavatsky' does not mean going back to the personality of H.P.B.; it means going back to the great source books, getting a grounding in the fundamentals of the teachings, and acquiring through study, practice and discipline, self-realization of their truth. The question of the `infallibility' of teacher or book is not to be considered; the authority of self-realization is the only guide. With such a grounding we can go forward to those greater heights of comprehension which Theosophy offers to every sincere disciple.
- D. W. B.
Some Unrecognized Factors in Medicine, Published for Theosophical Research Centre by The Theosophical Publishing House Ltd., London, 211pp., Revised Edition, price 10/6.
In The Mahatma Letters K.H. wrote, "Nor do we feel in any way concerned about the revival of our ancient arts and high civilization, for these are as sure to come back in their time . . . . " and further "The new civilization will be but the child of the old one . . . ."
We are witnessing the realization of this prophecy, because not a month passes without the discovery of ancient oriental manuscripts, telling us that our recent discoveries are but resurrections. The newspapers lately carried a long article, `Medical doctors in Ancient India.' It says they could diagnose about 1200 diseases, using 760 medicinal plant derivatives, had methods of infant care similar to ours and used over 120 surgical instruments. Not only had these ancient Aryan doctors developed rapid and dexterous surgical methods, they also had intimate knowledge of psychosomatic ills. Since medicine in those days was attached to religion, they did not use animals for vivisection.
In the Mahabharata it says, "There are two classes of disease - bodily and mental. Each arises from the other. Neither is perceived to exist without the other. Of a truth mental disorders arise from physical ones, and likewise physical disorders arise from mental ones."
Some Unrecognized Factors in Medicine is an excellent introduction into Theosophical thought, and it should be circulated in the medical and nursing fields. It has been considerably revised, a better terminology describes the field of eastern occultism in relation to medical practice. Additions have been made taking into account new special techniques in diagnosis, now coming into use in every country. Often much valuable time is lost, before a patient gets the benefit of modern diagnostic research centres. And as they deal only with gross matter, the patient finds himself reduced to a chart of a certain metabolic and chemical pattern without consideration of the psychological, vital and spiritual factors. As a U.S. writer puts it, `the living being of man is barely studied and as far as curative medicine is concerned, it has almost become a "racket", a powerful racket, controlling the press, the radio, even the Government and public opinion. The West is influenced by the industrialists and also hypnotized by the propaganda for curative medicines made by the drug racketeers, who deluge doctors with free samples.'
The study of this book would therefore help the student to make his own diagnosis, to learn to watch the fluctuations, the stress and strain in his four-fold vibratory structure, the influence of every ripple of thought and emotion, his reactions, etc. and encourage him to seek that equilibrium which arises from harmony within oneself. Although this can only be achieved through adjustments at much deeper levels of consciousness, the analyzing down to the automatic level of the purely emotional and instinctual life, the scientific proof of the destructiveness of ordinary emotions, will help the student to avoid major mental and physical breakdowns. He will not only learn to analyze himself, but learn to read in the faces of others the hidden signs of fear, resentment, anger, anxiety, sorrow, self-interest, ambition, and perhaps be able to help with wise counsel. He can learn to observe the subtle changes of personality behavior in mental illness and the difference between actual disease and psychic possessions.
W. B. Cannon (Harvard) in Bodily
Changes from Pain,, Hunger, Fear and Rage, shows graphically the change in blood from fear. A small piece of intestinal muscle was attached to a lever of a graph and when surrounded by normal blood it contracted and relaxed with definite rhythm. If the normal blood was replaced by that taken from a frightened animal, the movement ceased immediately, when normal blood was replaced, the tissue resumed its normal rhythm, indicating the inhibiting effect upon the body by fear. Dr. C.W. Crile in The Origin and Nature of Emotions shows photomicrographs of brain cells that were injured by emotional shocks, which also injure cells in the liver, adrenals, thyroid and other parts. Identical effects are produced, if worry and anxiety are present over a long period of time. One of the most successful European research workers, Dr. Gustav Ricker and his pupils have recorded during the war years these changes on the living human organism microscopically and established definite laws, proving scientifically, that every intense emotion leaves an indelible trace not only in the psyche, but also in the nervous system. Another great scientist, Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose (1858-1937) through his researches into the consciousness of plants, concluded that these `indelible traces' are revived at the moment of death; "The revival of memory, then, is the result of a strong stimulation being thrown on the impressioned surface, so as to wake up the dormant images. Now we have seen that during the struggle of death an electrical spasm sweeps through every part of the organism and this strong and diffuse stimulation now involuntary - may be expected to crowd into one brief flash a panoramic succession of all the memory images latent in the organism." Plant Autographs and their Revelations p. 66. In The Secret Doctrine it is stated that `Happiness as well as sorrow sets up
strong vibrations, and so wears out the body' and `it is the emotions that wear out the body with their secret power'.
This introduction to the book is necessarily inadequate, its contents point to an almost untouched field for medical research. The difference between the still materialistic approach of the western medical schools and the vitalistic approach of the east is interestingly presented.
- A Student.
AN OUTLINE OF THEOSOPHY
(Continued from Page 167)
Just as the evidences of erudition are overwhelming, so are the proofs that H.P.B. foresaw many of the discoveries of science which, since her death, have been hailed as triumphs of modern research, and also that she was the first to expose the fallacies in many theories held as beyond question in her time, but which have since been discarded or seriously doubted by scientists themselves. Any learned person who cares to read The Secret Doctrine, cannot fail to be convinced of this statement.
I must confine myself to two or three instances: William Kingsland writes in a notice of the founding of the Blavatsky Association, appearing in the magazine Dawn, May, 1924 - official organ of the T.S. Loyalty League, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia:
"I have never forgotten her determined attitude as to the disintegration of physical matter. Science held that matter was indestructible, and that you could not break up a physical atom; but she held that a physical atom was only a very low grade of a Universal Substance. Her theory of the atomic nature of electricity has since been confirmed very fully, for the electrons of modern science are
nothing but her atoms of electricity."
The next instance is taken from a book published as far back as 1908, in which the author, Dr. A. Marques, submits comparisons which prove many predictions in nine of the principal branches of Science:
"Sir Norman Lockyer and Prof. J.J. Thompson have started the scientific hypothesis of Ions and Electrons. . . moreover these electrons are not huddled up together, and if the distances between them were calculated, they would seem proportionately to their size, to be as widely separated as the planets are in the solar system."
This was a new theory about 1908, though, now, of course, a commonplace.
About ten years previously H.P.B. had written:
"A wooden or a stone block is motionless and impenetrable to all intents and purposes, nevertheless and de facto, its particles are in ceaseless eternal vibration. . . and yet the spacial distance between those particles, in their vibrationary motion is considered from another plane of being and perception - as great as that which separates snowflakes or drops of rain. But to physical science this will be an absurdity." Scientific Corroborations of Theosophy, by Dr. A. Marques.
And as such it was, indeed, received!
Mme. Blavatsky always vigorously denied that man has evolved from an ape or any ape-like animal. She declared that the missing link would never be found - its discovery was almost daily expected at that time - and drew special attention to the great difference between the brain cavities of the highest ape and of the earliest specimens of man, and the very small difference between that of the earliest man and the most advanced races of today. Dr. C.H. Hill-Tout, in August of this year (1924), before the Anthropology section of the British Association at Toronto, Canada, was quoted as saying: -
"The conclusion is forced upon us, contrary to what has generally been held, that the anthropoids and not man, have departed most from the ancestral type in respect of skull characteristics."
That is to say, apes have departed greatly from the common stock, while man has not - bearing out The Secret Doctrine contention that the apes have descended from a race of men who mated with an animal (now extinct) millions of years ago.
The reader should now be in a position to answer the following question: "Did Mme. Blavatsky obtain the knowledge and help that enabled her to write The Secret Doctrine from her Teachers - the Adepts of the Great Lodge - as she states?" However this question may be answered, it must not be supposed that the author of The Secret Doctrine makes any appeal to the authority of her Teachers for the final acceptance of her assertions and postulates. On the contrary, in her book she submits them solely to the arbitrament of evidence, reason and logic.
A Warning! A general outline of Theosophy has now been presented to the reader, but no attempt has been made to adduce all the evidence that might be marshalled in support of the postulates and tenets hinted at, nor have any of the subjects herein contained been treated exhaustively or conclusively. I wish to draw particular attention to this, because many people, after reading one or two pamphlets or hearing a lecture supposed to be theosophical, seem to imagine that they are in a position to judge of the merits of the whole theosophical outlook, whereas the most that
such a very slight acquaintance with Theosophy could possibly do for any enquirer would be to help him to determine whether or not the study of Theosophy or Occultism would be likely to interest him.
Conclusion: In conclusion let me restate those tenets of Theosophy that are of the greatest importance.
That it is the thirst for material life, acting through karma, the law of cause and effect, that impels to rebirth among material things; that all the faculties, aptitudes and innate knowledge with which man is born and which may be brought out by education, have been earned by him in past lives, for a man is not made, abut has become, and is becoming, by his own exertions, and that even any help he may obtain from others, is neither more nor less than what he has earned the right to give or receive.
When the pupil has made himself ready to receive, the Master will be found - but not before.
That man lives by Law, the immutability of which, acting as many laws, assures that every effort made on any plane in any direction shall have its full effect.
Therefore, that man is a creative being, a beneficent or maleficent force in Nature, responsible, according to his degree, for the progress or retardation of the welfare and evolution of mankind; and that it renders him particularly his own creator, his own judge, dispensing to himself weal or woe.
That the brotherhood of man is a FACT. It is an expression of eternal law which is, in itself, an expression of the One Life. As the Law cannot be broken with impunity, it follows that when a man opposes it with his pigmy strength he will suffer to the exact extent of the force he exerts in opposition. It therefore behooves every one to study the Law and to recognize the responsibilities it entails, for neither prayer nor repentance can save him from the natural results of his ignorance.
That instead of looking upward and worshipping the God on high, hoping to obtain favors from Him in return for services rendered, the only true God should be sought for down among men in the mysterious depths of human nature. And in serving humanity, that God within, which dwells in unity with the collective soul of humanity, should be more considered than the evanescent personalities that are temporarily ensouled by Him, or rather, It.
That all forms, whether objects perceived by the senses or mental pictures, are but units in the unthinkably vast hosts of things that go to make up the universe, which is a part of the One Reality manifesting as the Many. In other words: All things and all beings are "God".
That the sense of separateness, that illusionary conviction that I-am-I and I-am-not-You, is the great heresy, which must be gradually transcended by the expansion of our sympathies until they include, at long last, all beings within the consciousness of our own being; that only by this gradual expansion can we gain access through Universal Mind to the light of truth that shines behind all the shadows among which we grope, mistaking them for realities, for, to use the words of H.P. Blavatsky, "he who would profit by the Universal Mind has to reach it through the whole of humanity without distinction of race, complexion, religion, or social status. It is altruism, not egoism, even in its most legal and noble conception, that can lead the unit to merge its little Self in the Universal Selves." - Occultism versus the Occult Arts, by H. P. Blavatsky, to be obtained in pamphlet form from the H.P.B. Library, 750 Grand Boulevard, North Vancouver, British Columbia.