Vol. XXXIII, No. 7 Toronto, September 15th, 1952 Price 20 Cents
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document
THE ELECTION MANIFESTO OF PROFESSOR ERNEST WOOD
As I have consented to accept nomination as a candidate for the office of President of the Theosophical Society, the voters have a right to expect from me a Declaration of Policy. First, then, to be quite formal, if elected I would preserve the Constitution of the Society in spirit and letter. Regarding the office of President as a purely executive position, I would try to preserve a just and even attitude to teachers and students holding different views of Theosophy. I would keep it very publicly and clearly known that the Society (in common, it may be said, with ally progressive scientific societies) commits itself to none of them, either temporarily or permanently, although it is profoundly, even fundamentally committed to a policy of brotherhood. My idea on this point is that the Society is not a brotherhood of creeds or a chorus of orthodoxies, but a brotherhood of seekers for ever more and more perfect understanding of Theosophy. I would maintain also that the Society does not need the aid of other organizations to fulfill its purposes, and that any activities which it may deem necessary or useful to that end should be incorporated into its consitution and carried on under its control.
My views on Theosophy are well known. Many have read them in the twenty-five or more books which I have written touching upon one or other of the three Objects of the Theosophical Society, some of which have been translated into several languages. I would particularly mention: A Guide to Theosophy, Concentration, Mind and Memory Training, Character Building, The Occult Training of the Hindus, Tanjore Theosophical Lectures, The Science of Brotherhood, Intuition of the Will, Personal Psychology and the Subconscious Mind, New Theosophy, Practical Yoga (translated from the Sanskrit), The Glorious Presence, The Bhagavad Gita Explained (in preparation), and Class Notes on the Secret Doctrine.
My views with regard to the Adepts and their relation to the Society are in perfect accord with the letter printed as Number 46 in Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom First Series, Third Edition, 1945, published by the Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, India, which reads in part as follows:
"The T.S. must safely be ushered into the new century . . . no one has a right to claim authority over a pupil or his conscience. Ask him not what he believes. . .The crest wave of intellectual
advancement must be taken hold of and guided into Spirituality. It cannot be forced into beliefs and emotional worship. The essence of the higher thoughts of the members in their collectivity must guide all action in the T.S. . . . .We never try to subject to ourselves the will of another. At favorable times we let loose elevating influences which strike various persons in various ways. It is the collective aspect of many such thoughts that can give the correct note of action. We show no favors. The best corrective of error is an honest and open-minded examination of all facts, subjective and objective. . ."
I take this to imply that the Adepts are in no way restricted in their approach to any persons in the world, as also indicated in Letter No. XLV, p. 267 in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett:
. . ."thought runs swifter than the electric fluid, and your thought will find me if projected by a pure impulse, as mine will find, has found, and often impressed your mind. We may move in cycles of activity divided - not entirely separated from each other. Like the light in the sombre valley seen by the mountaineer from his peaks, every bright thought in your mind, my Brother, will sparkle and attract the attention of your distant friend and correspondent. If thus we discover our natural Allies in the shadow-world - your world and ours outside the precincts - and it is our law to approach every such an one if even there be but the feeblest glimmer of the true 'Tathagata' light within him - then how far easier for you to attract us."
I view the Society, therefore, as neither a religion nor the school of a guru. The main practical issue here is that in the Society's meetings we associate as students on the path of knowledge, and an individual's religious practices and also his relations with any guru or teacher are not to be imposed upon the Society by being made collective although they are of interest to all.
It is not assumed that this Movement arose with no definite body of existing knowledge for the students to work upon. The Founders of the Society were not students. They maintained that they already had great knowledge in this field of the Science of Life - at least H.P. Blavatsky made this claim, as being the mouthpiece of Adept Teachers with whom she was in contact through the use of psychic faculties which she possessed. These Teachers were, however, not willing to come forward themselves and stimulate belief in their knowledge by putting it out to the accompaniment of abnormal personal appearances and psychic phenomena. They wished H.P. Blavatsky and A.P. Sinnett to pass on statements of knowledge having great definiteness, yet intended for consideration and study, and only to be accepted by anybody when their perfect reasonableness was seen. So we had the founding of the Society by Teachers but as a band of students - students willing to study the original message, on its merits, and in its light any prior knowledge of Theosopohy which there might be in the world and any future relevant knowledge which may be brought forward for consideration.
All agree that Atma-vidya is Theosophia - knowledge of the real self. Other vidyas or occult knowledges are not Theosophy, but they deal with forces in the world which may lead to it or towards it, if motivated by the desire for atma-vidya. Ought the Theosophical Society became of its very name to confine itself to the study of the Atma-vidya? Or ought the other vidyas be allowed to come in under its wing as matters of practice, not merely of study? Ought the three Objects be
added to so as to include these other vidyas as subsidiary activities or practices - though, of course, entirely dissociated in any case from the authority of other organizations? Disassociation from other organizations, all agree, is necessary for the dignity and freedom of the Theosophical Society, but this is something more intimate. This is a matter which if seriously brought forward should be thought over by as many members as possible, and then be well ventilated, before any definite proposals are made.
The newer members may wish to know what executive experience I have had, so I give a list: President, Manchester City Lodge, England; President, Adyar Lodge, Adyar, India; President, Blavatsky Lodge, Sydney, Australia; President, Madanapalle Lodge, India; President, Hyderabad Lodge, Pakistan; Recording Secretary, Theosophical Society, Adyar, India; Treasurer, Theosophical Society, Adyar, India; Secretary, Theosophical Educational Trust, Adyar, India; Organizing Officer for the Society for the Promotion of National Education, India; President and Principal of University Colleges in India; founder of two Colleges and several schools in India.
In conclusion, I have two short notes: (1) I shall always welcome criticism, if it is brief and courteous. (2) I hope that when the election is over all will work together as before, as the object of the election is not to compete, but to give the voters a choice and a chance to express themselves.
- Ernest Wood.
Walnut Hill Road,
Plumtrees, Bethel, Conn., U.S.A.
August 23, 1952.
THEOSOPHY, THE MOVEMENT, AND THE DWELLER
By Eileen Margaret Walker
In the beginning is the Word of Theosophy, and the Word comes to our ears from a living person. As the Bible says, the Word was with God and the Word was God; so, for a certain type of theosophical student, it is natural that Theosophy should be identified in his mind with the person he regards as his immediate teacher. This unrealized identification may grow until Theosophy and the "guru" are psychologically inseparable in his consciousness.
Now, the literature left by H.P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge is replete with warnings about this natural misunderstanding, and so the student, as he goes on, obscures the fact of his error by parroting the words of the Great Theosophists. He may, in all sincerity, warn others not to mistake the transmitter for the Message, the bucket-brigade for the Teachings themselves. As he continues firm in his own opinion, sure of his own judgment, and loyal to his little guru, he steadily elevates himself in his own estimation - and necessarily elevates his preceptor, simultaneously. In practice, of course, he thinks he is merely recognizing greatness more and more, and the little guru might encourage this view of things. On they go - loyal student, adoring chosen teacher, and chosen teacher praising faithful pupil for his developing intuition and spirituality.
Submerged, apparently forever, is the vision of the Path as first glimpsed, that Path on which one goes forward only by his own "UNHELPED EXERTIONS." Forgotten by pupil and teacher alike,
lost in the scrap-heaps of endless intellectualizing, is the knowledge of their own ignorance, the ignorance they set out to conquer and dispel. Uninvited, left out of daily, waking consciousness, is the actual presence of the true Gurus
W.Q.J., H.P.B., and the theosophical Mahatmas.
The pupil, drawn along in the wake of a pupil-teacher, seeks no further. All the hints and directions about the Guru-chela relationship which his eye falls upon in the theosophical writings, he applies merely to his personal relationship with his idol. The chela must obey without question, he says to himself - and rushes out to do what his mentor does, without understanding why. The chela must have absolute trust and confidence in the guru, says the book - Aha! says he, I must shut my eyes even tighter, and then my inner eye will see the light! The guru's ways are not the ways of the world, it is written - and forthwith the chela throws overboard his last shred of discrimination: If I do not interfere with my spiritual evolution by too much independent thinking, I shall be the better able to accept the occult way of looking at things!
The chela must forget his personal nature - thus runs the teaching. No wonder, muses the chela to himself, that my guru seems so sharp and cutting in his remarks, so forthright in castigating faults and failings, so apparently heartless in judging others! I had thought, smiles the chela to himself, that this was slander and condemnation and unbrotherliness, now I see that these are the subtle signs of the higher life, the life of spirit and compassion absolute, how remarkable that so wise a guru should spend even a moment upon such a simple fool as I!
The circle of mutual adulation is complete. The chela abases and debases himself more with every new glimmer he obtains of the Path and its pilgrims. The more determined is his devotion, the more it leads him to abrogate his self-reliance; the more sincere his aspiration, the loftier the pedestal upon which he places his personal guru. When he studies the teachings, his guru's face is reflected upon every page; when he fathoms some little portion of the nature of H.P.B. or the Mahatmas, he immediately confers upon his own idol the new virtue, the latest adept-power recognized. He prides himself on not trying and not expecting to understand, where once his burning purpose was to understand all - the universe and himself. He glories in not asking questions which would reflect a possible lack of faith, while holding himself disdainfully aloof from the mentally lazy and obtuse.
Where does it end? What will change the course of the descending spiral toward authority and auricular confession? For we must not omit to mention that the little guru has gradually established a pucka confessional; the chela is expected to tell all, to seek advice constantly and about every phase of his life and doings, and to pray for theosophical forgiveness and absolution. If the guru understands and forgives, the chela need not be concerned about those whom his sins have wronged; the guru's occult compassion absolves him from the necessity of making karmic amends (or so he imagines).
There is, perhaps, no spiritual authority, no little guru, who does not claim the power of absolution, and who does not insist upon auricular confession. Absolution is a prerogative the guru seizes for himself; confession is a power conferred by the misguided devotion of the would-be chela, who thereby gives up his own prerogative of free choice and integrity.
Together, these two - absolution and auricular confession - indicate the presence of what may be called the Dweller of the Threshold of the Theosophical Movement . . . . .
Many hints have been given, throughout the literature of Theosophy, about the Dweller of the Threshold - a phrase introduced by Bulwer-Lytton in his novel, Zanoni. Here, it may be well to review several key statements. For example, speaking of the ripening of good and evil seeds by the study of occultism, William Q. Judge takes occasion to remark: "The dweller of the threshold in Zanoni is no fiction. It is ever with each student, for it is the baser part of humanity that he begins in real earnest as never before to fight. At the same time, the brightly shining Adonai is also there to help and save if we will let that be done." Again, in "A Weird Tale," Mr. Judge has the guru say:
"You have read Zanoni, and perhaps lave an exaggerated idea of the horrible Dweller of the Threshold, making of her a real person or thing. But the reality is much worse. When you get into what you have called the 'peaceful places,' this power becomes tenfold stronger than it is found to be on the plane in which we now live in London . . . ."
"On that plane it is found that, although from the spiritual sun there falls upon us the benign influence of those great sages who, entering para-nirvana, throw off their accumulated goodness for our benefit, the evil influence that is focussed by the dark side of the moon falls as well, and with its power undiminished. The little temptations and difficulties of your life are as nothing compared to that struggle, for then it is realized that the self is the enemy of the self, as well as its friend."
But it is in "Living the Higher Life" that the fullest explanation of the Dweller appears, Mr. Judge stating that the form it assumes in individual cases depends upon several factors, among them: "which form, more or less monstrous or incongruous, would be the most frightful and overpowering to him at the critical period." The Dweller, writes Mr. Judge, differs only in degree from the ordeals of chelaship, and both appear in the student's life "as often as the stock of his karmic stamina falls below the minimum limit."
We are concerned, however, with the "Dweller of the Movement," and in this connection we shall revert to H.P. Blavatsky's signal article, "Theosophy or Jesuitism?" Jesuitism, H.P.B. once wrote, is "an enemy common to all . . . . and that only because of auricular confession." Tracing the fortunes of the Jesuits, their undercover work in and through various organizations, she leaves the reader more prepared to distinguish between the essence of Theosophy and the "dry rot" represented by jesuitism, in whatever form it appears. Particularly significant is the prophecy that climaxes the article: "When the conquerors of all the ancient nations are in their turn conquered by an army of black dragons begotten by their sins and born of decay, then the hour of liberation for the former will strike." (Italics are H.P.B.'s) What the "black dragons" would be is not precisely explained by H.P.B., but they may stand, in one sense, for the false gods - either Christian or theosophical - created in man's own image by untutored faith and blind devotion.
H.P.B.'s last line in "Theosophy or Jesuitism?" is: "This [the conquest by the army of black dragons] will be the result of the work of the Jesuits, who will be its first victims, let us hope." The reason for this hope - a strange one, we may think, for H.P.B. to voice, even about an enemy common to all - may appear as we realize that the first
victims are rarely the jesuits themselves, but are, instead, their betrayed devotees . . . . .
Returning now to our little chela and his little guru, let us see if we can detect the approach of the Dweller; for if the pupil is sincere, devoted, persistent, and aspiring, he reaches what is by comparison with the world of material life - a peaceful place, and there, awaiting him, is not only the accumulated goodness cast off by great sages, but also the shadow of the dark side of the moon (the eighth sphere?). In the struggle, to use W.Q.J.'s words, "it is realized that the self is the enemy of the self, as well as its friend."
In other words, the candidate realizes that he has seriously confused the lower self with the Higher Self, the voice of the blind personality for the voice of the silence. The struggle, the trial, is within his own heart and head; the reverberating question is, Which voice is true? Over and over, in and out of all the convolutions of brain and mind, the ego circles the field, trying to find a place to land, a steady spot whereon to stand, a clear view upon which to rest his nightmare-haunted eyes. "The self is the enemy of the self; but how do I know which is truth and which is falsehood? The self is the friend of self
but how can I trust any friend in this darkness?"
The reality of the Dweller is worse than if it were a real person or thing, we are told. Why? Because persons and things we have coped with before, even evil ones, and we know that no matter how evil they are, there is always a redeeming feature if only for the sake of life's eternal law of contrast. Then, too, a person or a thing that does or causes evil to come to us may be unconscious of the harm wrought, the tragedy accomplished. The Dweller, however, is evil incarnate, the baser part of humanity isolated, unmodified, and consciously propelled. It makes the form most calculated to terrify and overpower the chela at the critical period when his karmic stamina is temporarily diminished, that is, when his forces are insufficient. The form may be like none other that has ever been imagined or feared; or it may be no form at all - and the more horrible for being invisible, intangible, and unrecognizable.
A state of sudden nervous exhaustion in which life seems too much to bear, and the peace of death the only possible salvation; a feeling of depression so complete that the mind does not even wonder at it, but sinks gradually into a stupor of idiocy, as if into quicksand; a dream experience so coldly gruesome as to be doubly unreal; a strangle-tension in the solar plexus, on the heart or the lungs, or at the pit of the throat; a literally blinding headache, sense of smell and taste cut off, or strange shooting pains in vital centers; showers of grief or tears that rage fiercely and briefly, coming without warning and leaving for no apparent reason. The list is endless, the phases infinite, the planes of action and influence unnumbered, because the Dweller of the Threshold, like the Path whereon it is encountered, varies with the pilgrim.
The Dweller may be associated with a person or a thing; it may accompany one who knows naught of its presence - or it may be the ruling principle in a shattered mind, a "lost soul," or in one of the "living dead." As in insanity, the power of discrimination waxes and wanes, now present, now absent, so the Dweller may overshadow its human medium or vehicle only occasionally, in certain situations, in particular moods, and with special persons. Or, it may dwell constantly in its human shell, simply being unnoticed, unknown, or unadmitted by most of those who come within its radius.
(Continued on Page 108)
On August 17th I received a cable-gram from the Theosophical Society in Adyar calling for nominations for the presidency and stating that Mr. Jinarajadasa will not be a candidate.
At a meeting of the General Executive of the Theosophical Society in Canada held on July 6th, where we had anticipated the matter it was unanimously decided that the name of Professor Ernest Wood be put forward. Since then Professor Wood has acquiesced in this and has given me his formal acceptance to stand for office. This is now being forwarded to Adyar. His Manifesto to the electorate will be published in this issue of The Canadian Theosophist.
On October 27, 1952 the Recording Secretary at Adyar will send a cable to all general secretaries with the names of the nominees to be voted upon.
Meanwhile the General Secretary will proceed to get out an Electoral Roll of the members of the Canadian Section and all members, in good standing - that is to say, whose Annual Dues are paid to date, or are not in arrears for more than one year will receive a ballot on which to record their vote.
The method of voting, as prescribed in Rule 10 of the Society By-Laws is as follows: -
1. The voting paper shall consist of two parts; the voting slip, and the letter form, which the member signs and addresses to the General Secretary. Each member shall be given two envelopes, one small one in which the vote must be sealed, and the larger one addressed to the General Secretary in which the small envelope must be enclosed, and the letter formally signed by the member.
2. Immediately after October 27 when the cable from Adyar will announce the name, or names of those nominated, voting papers will be sent to all members who are entitled to vote, so that the votes may be registered and the accompanying form completed and returned to the General Secretary who will appoint scrutineers, whose duty it will be to open the small envelopes and count the votes given to each candidate (or the "For" or "Against" votes, if there is but one candidate nominated).
When the Scrutineers have reported their findings to the General Secretary he will report the result by cable to Headquarters at Adyar, confirming it by an Air-Mail letter at the same time.
It is to be hoped that every member in good-standing will exercise his or her democratic privilege and vote in the coming election for the Presidency of the Society.
(Sgd.) E. L. Thomson,
General Secretary. August 31st, 1952.
THE THREE TRUTHS
Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Entered at Hamilton General Post Office as Second-class matter.
- Subscription: Two Dollars a Year
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
Charles M. Hale, Box 158, New Liskeard, Ont.
Miss M. Hindsley, 745 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Ont.
George I. Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Avenue, Toronto, Ont.
Peter Sinclair, 4941 Wellington St., Verdun, Quebec
Washington E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C.
Emory P. Wood, 12207 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, Alta.
Lt.-Col E.L. Thomson, D.S.O., 54 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
To whom all payments should be made, and all official communications addressed
EDITORIAL BOARD, CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
All Letters to the Editor, Articles and Reports for Publication should be sent to The Editor: Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ont.
Printed by the Griffin & Richmond Printing Co., Ltd., 29 Rebecca Street, Hamilton, Ontario
VISIT TO WHEATON
Two members of Toronto Lodge, Mrs. Gladys Dibble and Mrs. H.J. Cable, attended the 66th Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society in America, which was held in the forty-three acre estate of the Society at Wheaton, Illinois. Mrs. Cable kindly prepared a detailed account of the visit from which the following notes have been compiled.
Our two visitors were the only delegates from Canada, but nearly every State in the Union was represented and there were visitors from Ireland, Pakistan and South America. The visitors were made welcome by the President and his charming wife, and the members of the staff were most kind and helpful. Mr. L.W. Rogers, who is now 93, was one of the distinguished visitors.
Mrs. Cable mentioned especially the reports of the various activities which are being carried on by the Society; for example the work of the Theosophical Association for the Blind at Ojai, which prints books and pamphlets in Braille for the use of blind members.
Miss Grace Boughton of Ojai, and Miss Olga Kaufman of Covington, Louisiana told of their interesting work in broadcasting Theosophy, and of the enquiries received as a result of the broadcasts.
Miss Edith Gray told of her work in placing Theosophical books in libraries, army and air force stations, hospitals, high schools and colleges. Mr. Wilfred Sigerson reported on his work in sending out a booklet To Those Who Mourn to thousands of bereaved persons.
One evening was devoted to Young Theosophists and talks on the meaning of the Theosophical seal were given by several young members.
Srimati Rukmini Devi gave herself generously in many ways. She spoke on many occasions and her talks were an inspiration. Everyone loved her simple, natural manner and felt that she returned the affection which was spontaneously accorded her. She spoke of her work in the Art Centre, Kalakshetra, at Adyar and expressed her concern as to whether the work could be carried on as the property is now required by Headquarters.
One evening Rukmini Devi gave a dance demonstration, first going through the motions of the dance, explaining as she went along the meaning of each gesture. Then to recorded Indian music, she gave the dance, and all were carried away with the grace and beauty of her interpretation. She explained that for many years dancing had been unpopular, but now that she had revived it, it is widely acclaimed.
Mrs. Dibble and Mrs. Cable thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the Convention and hope to repeat their happy and stimulating experience.
Two letters have been received relative to the letters and comments, thereon published in the July issue. One from Mr. T.H. Redfern is published in full; the other, much longer, from Mr. C. Weaver, has been condensed.
38 Chapel Street, Hyde, Cheshire,
9th August, 1952.
Dear Mr. Barr,
There are a few corrections that should be contributed to your correspondence regarding the Liberal Catholic Church of which I am a member.
You describe the Liberal Catholic sect as "the only one which claims to be 'theosophical'." I doubt whether the Presiding Bishop would now make that claim. Certainly it includes non-theosophists. Certainly neo-theosophists are welcome in it, and a Blavatskyan student like myself is regarded somewhat dubiously!
The editors of Theosophical Notes in their letter to you understate the weight of the Old Catholic Church in 1875, nor is it a "forgotten little sect" today. It may be in America. It is almost in England, though the Rev. G.P.T. Paget King of the Old Roman Catholic Rite in Great Britain (who is announced as chairman of a meeting of a World Convention of Religions on the Foundations of Peace to be held in London on August 26th) probably derives from it. In Holland, Switzerland, and parts of Germany however, it is a substantial, well-established and respected branch of the Christian Church. The Czechoslovakian branch, with a few thousand members, has now submitted to the Russian Orthodox Church at Moscow.
It is not possible "to get the opinion of a prelate of the ORIGINAL Liberal Catholic Church outside of Theosophcial connections" because no church of that name exists other than the one with "theosophical connections". It was the English branch of The Old Catholic Church which, becoming infiltrated by members of The Theosophical Society, declared itself independent, and later changed its name to The Liberal Catholic Church whose disapproval of its neo-theosophical daughter is on the record:
"We declare that we stand in no ecclesiastical relationship whatever with the bishops and clergy who derive their ecclesiastical faculties directly or indirectly from this act of consecration consummated in 1908" (i.e., the consecration of Bishop A.H. (i.e., from whom the Liberal Catholic succession derives).
The same correspondents are also in error in saying that all the "prominent figures" in the T.S. "belonged to it and tried to get everybody else to join". Mrs. Besant did not join it, neither did Mr. Jinarajadasa, though both have preached sermons in its churches. It is true that it was announced as an activity endorsed by the Masters, deserving of support by those T.S. members whom it attracted.
Two years ago I read a paper in two parts at Peace Lodge meetings on The Theosophical Movement and the Liberal Catholic Church. In this I summarized the history of this branch of the Christian Church and then proceeded to consider it in the light of the basic literature of the Blavatskyan era of our Society. The first (historical) part was printed in The Liberal Catholic magazine; but the editor (the Presiding Bishop) rejected the latter (appraising) part. We aim to issue it in its entirety in our series of Peace Lodge Papers this autumn, in the hope that it will be a helpful contribution towards
putting this Church in a fair and balanced setting in relation to the Theosophical Movement as a whole.
T. H. Redfern, Secretary, Peace Lodge.
P.S. - Commenting on the Conference on Faith and Order, opening on August 15th the Manchester Guardian says
`The central problem of the conference will be the nature of the Church and the different conceptions of it which are held by the Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Old Catholics and Protestants."
- T. H. R.
The above mentioned articles should be of interest to many members. We have previously offered to publish in the magazine any impersonal explanation of the formation of the Liberal Catholic Church by Theosophical members in the light of all those passages from the writings of the Mahatmas and H.P.B. which apparently condemn such a step.
In his letter of August 17, Mr. Weaver states that in publishing extracts from his letter and omitting to quote from Dr. Wilks' earlier letter, the Editors of Theosophical Notes have given a one-sided view. Mr. Weaver points out that the Mahatmas do not claim to be infallible, that they stated clearly that language problems made it difficult for them to communicate ideas exactly, and that their writings are subject to the possibility of faulty interpretation. "I am prepared to argue, from their own letters, that the words of the Masters concerning churches are capable of a different interpretation than the one usually ascribed."
"Concerning the Liberal Catholic Church, I claim a truer knowledge than Dr. Wilks or the Editors are likely to have, for I was once a Server and had some hopes of becoming a priest. Then I read the works of C.W.L. and while accepting much of it as true, decided that neither that Church nor any other was for me. It was not until many years later that I read The Secret Doctrine and The Letters, which therefore had nothing to do with my conclusions, nor have they altered my opinion that much of C.W.L.'s work is of value. Had it been left to certain others I would not have read those works; in ignorance I would have scorned both them and the L.C.C., and I would now have a biased and secondhand opinion rather than one based on my own experience."
"The Editors speak of an `obscure sect having a membership, when the T.S. was founded, proportionate to twelve in modern America.' This appears deliberately misleading and has no bearing on the facts. When `Papal Infallibility' was indoctrinated in 1870, many Church people in Holland and elsewhere seceded and formed several new congregations under the name `Old Catholic'. They joined with the one hundred and fifty year old Jansenist Church and the result was hundreds of members by 1875. And however dubious the Editors may assume the manner to be whereby this Church received its Orders, they are recognized as valid by the Roman Catholics. That should be good enough."
Respecting the statement that 'non-membership in the L.C.C. definitely made one a second-class citizen in the T.S., Mr. Weaver points to his own experience in Harrogate Lodge, England which he joined in 1918. The President of the Lodge who had held office for twenty years, was not a member of the Church and very few members attended its meetings. There was no Church in Cheltenham where Mr. Weaver later attended Lodge meetings. "The Church was definitely not a part of the life or policy of those lodges nor of any others that I have attended, though my interest
dates from 1916, the year C.W.L. was consecrated Bishop."
"The Editors said of my illustration of the unfinished Pyramid that this `appears to be a typical Leadbeaterian fancy, perhaps "hatched" by one who . . . did not take the trouble to discover that the stones had been removed . . . for incorporation in humbler buildings.' They suggest that H.P.B. makes no mention of the unfinished state. They evidently know enough about symbolism to get sarcastic about an upside-down pyramid - underneath the visible one. It seems silly to assume that thieves would take the top stones when easier ones are available at the bottom. And I understand that the Egyptian Book of the Dead, surely a good authority, states that the Great Pyramid was built without a top. In Mahatma Letter 22, p. 142, there is this, `. . . the immaterial essence, or the apex of the equilateral triangle.' There is only one well-known equilateral triangle with an immaterial top, and K.H. goes on to name it; ` . . . an idea found to this day in the pyramids of Egypt.' I question only the `s' - and admit other interpretations are possible. But the Bible contains several veiled references to the same idea; the name `pyramid' in its derivation hints also to the same end, and it seems The Editors have never read the following in Isis Unveiled (I, 297) and The Secret Doctrine, 3, 247: "The peculiar architecture shows the metaphysical thought . . . The Apex is lost in the clear blue sky . . . and typifies the primordial point lost in the unseen universe . . . The `Soul'. . . made its exit through the symbolical apex." I repeat, the Pyramid was built without a top and symbolizes, amongst other things, the fact that on this physical plane there is always room for another stone on our temple of knowledge. If I am wrong, at least I base my opinion on better authority than the guesswork of The Editors."
"Dr. Wilks has long since proved his extent of learning; I agree with most of his opinions as I know them and respect the fact that he has opinions - the man with none having also no intelligence. But I must say I question the basis for the arguments used by The Editors, which are so puerile as to be laughable were it not for the fact they indicate a bias of approach regrettable in the editors of a magazine ostensibly devoted to Truth."
"Surely none of us, nor even the Masters, is an infallible source of Truth, much less a receptacle of all Truth. Let us therefore continue to study Theosophy as best we can, from all sources, forming our own opinions, and when we express those opinions as is our right and our duty, let us do so in our own name only and not, intentionally or otherwise, as representative of the Canadian Section, or any other."
"This I think has gone far enough for the magazine. Lest my point is still not clear, I append my address."
- Cedric Weaver.
42 Glenridge Road, Toronto 13, Ontario.
Apparently Mr. Weaver's experience in England between 1916 and 1918 in connection with the relationship of the Theosophical Society and the Liberal Catholic Church, was different from the experiences of other members in the United States between 1923 and 1929. To Mr. Weaver's last paragraph we say `Amen'.
Neither abstention from fish or flesh, nor nudity, nor a shaven head, nor braided hair, nor disfigurement of the body, not many colored garments, nor the worship of any deity, can purify a man who is not free from delusion.
- Amagandha Sutta.
THEOSOPHY, THE MOVEMENT, AND THE DWELLER
(Continued from Page 102)
A routine conversation is in progress between two people, when one feels a sudden and peculiar psychic shock, perhaps goes "dead," except for a thread of life and will by which consciousness precariously continues. One sits by, watching a tissue of deliberate lies being woven before his eyes - seeing a trusted associate accept the dreadful maya as the unvarnished truth. One sees crimes of slander - "murder in cold blood" - committed against upright fellow-disciples; crimes of lust and possession inflicted upon the innocent, the childlike, and the simple of heart; crimes of greed and ambition perpetrated under cover of sacred names and holy causes; crimes of hate and fear frantically multiplied to shut an honest mouth, close a wise eye, deaden a sharp ear, and obliterate all but devotees blinded by unreasoning faith.
Of such are the signs of the Dweller of the Threshold for the Theosophical Movement: "an army of black dragons begotten by sins and born of decay." Again and again, on this plane, the Movement has been abandoned, as its recruits allowed the Dweller to sweep the field.
Periodically, throughout the cycles, brave servants of the Lodge of Masters nave made "clean places" in which to plant the great ideas, have faced the Dweller formed by the reflex of the Spiritual Will, have poured out Light for mankind, while measuring the "dark shadow that follows all innovations." For a while, the Witness, the Messenger, the Teacher acts as a lightning-rod for the company of disciples, staving off the mental woe unspeakable that befalls the candidate-on-trial, protecting with the Guardian Wall those who have not yet prepared themselves for "future and far greater miseries and sorrow."
But the cycle runs its course, and the Great Guru retires where only thoughts can reach, where only high aspirations can climb, where those of eager, guileless soul alone can follow. The Dweller is left behind, together with the company - or the handful of half-taught disciples. Now the second half of the chela's lesson is to be completed, the part that must be learned by himself, in himself. The pupil must match his confidence in his teacher's power to teach with an equal confidence in his own power to learn. He goes forth alone, to test the strength of his will and determination. The time of trial may find him surrounded by friends - turned enemies, brothers - turned betrayers, and a teacher turned into a "golden idol on feet of clay." He can expect to be wildly misjudged, fanatically feared and hated, and thoroughly be-slavered by vicious tongues and slimy minds.
Every inducement will be offered him to give up the fight (and let the Dweller win!), to cease taking things so seriously, to plod along placidly once more behind a theosophical bandwagon. Ostracism is promised, and a goodly portion delivered in advance. Defeat - utter and inglorious - is confidently prophesied, albeit the prophets are not aware of precisely what the battle is about.
Yet, for all the splendid isolation in which the disciple endeavors to stand his ground, he is not without the sympathy and assistance of allies who, all unbeknownst to himself, "sit in the chariot" with him and mark carefully the progress of the battle. The Master wrote Col. Olcott in March, 1875, about H.P.B.: "The Dweller is watching closely, and will never lose an opportunity, if our Sister's courage fails." And in May, Olcott received instruc-
tions as to how he and another of H.P.B.'s associates, Elbridge Brown, might help their "sister" in her hour of trial:
"She must encounter once more and face to face the dreaded one she thought she would behold no more. She must either conquer - or die herself his victim . . . . How solitary, unprotected, but still dauntless, she will have to face all the great perils and unknown mysterious dangers she must encounter... Brother mine, I can do naught for our poor Sister. She has placed herself under the stern law of the Lodge and these laws can be softened for none. As an Ellorian she must win her right . . . . . The final result of the dreaded ordeal depends on her and her alone, and on the amount of sympathy for her from her two brothers, Henry and Elbridge, on the strength and power of their will sent out by both to her wherever she may be. Know, O Brother, that such will-power, strengthened by a sincere affection, will surround her with an impenetrable shield, a strong protecting shield, formed of the combined pure good wishes of two immortal souls - and powerful in proportion to the intensity of their desires to see her triumphant . . . . "
- Personal Memoirs of H. P. Blavatsky, Neff, pp. 236-37.
Again, in June, Olcott was advised: "Brother Henry must have the Wisdom of the Serpent and the gentleness of a lamb, for he who hopes to solve in time the great problems of the Macrocosmal World and conquer face to face the Dweller, taking thus by violence the thresholds on which lie buried nature's most mysterious secrets, must Try first the energy of his Will power, the indomitable resolution to succeed, and bringing to light all the hidden mental faculties of his Atma and highest intelligence, get at the problems of Man's Nature and solve first the mysteries of his heart . . . . ."
Thus, the Doctrine of the Eye is easily acquired, but he who seeks to master the Doctrine of the Heart treads a "weary Path of woe." He must leave behind the comfortable hypocrisy of auricular confession, the cherished cant of absolution, and, the poisonous pablum dished out by spiritual authorities, apostolic successors, and false gurus of every stripe and pretension. With his own highest mental faculties - which remain hidden until he arouses an unconquerable will to succeed - he must look human nature in the face and understand why self, undiscriminated from Self, makes his own heart a mystery; an enemy and a friend. Firm in will, dauntless in courage, strong in moral power, he stares out of countenance the Dweller of the Threshold, and enters the mystery of his own heart - the indwelling Spirit, the Voice of the Silence for him who has ears to hear.
The consummation is afar off, it seems. The student theosophist does not face H.P.B.'s tremendous ordeal. But, who knows when the first trials may begin? At the first shadow, and all along the way, the disciple will need to remind himself of the words of his living, human Guru, H.P.B., the lion-hearted: "Self-confidence is the first step to that kind of WILL which will make a mountain move: `'To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou can'st not then be false to any man'."
Dost thou not comprehend, at last, that it needs a soul tempered, and purified, and raised, not by external spells, but by its own sublimity and valor, to pass the threshold, and disdain the foe? - E. Bulwer Lytton, in Zanoni.
AN OUTLINE OF THEOSOPHY
By W.B. Pease
Doubt: The world of today is full of questionings. Fifty years ago it was not so; very few people dared to question any religious belief which had been taught them by their parents and the priest or minister of the sect into which they had been born. They were taught that doubt was one of the most subtle and dangerous weapons used by Satan to ensnare the wisest and best, so that if one found himself doubting some such obvious absurdity as that the wrath of the good God could be appeased only by the blood of his Son, he was filled with consternation and straightway prayed very earnestly to be delivered from the dreadful sin into which he was falling. Such prayers are frequently answered, for human will, auto-suggestion, self-deception and kindred powers may produce almost any desired effect on the mind. But now doubters are, to be met with everywhere, and their numbers are still increasing. At first it was noticed that the few who dared to doubt, and even those who openly scoffed at the most sacred tenets of their sect, did not rapidly degenerate into depraved and God-forsaken wretches, but on the contrary, were often quite honest people, and as pleasant to live with as the most irreproachable believers. It was also observed that dignitaries of great distinction in their church were often as much under the sway of personal ambitions and temperamental weaknesses as were many scientific materialists or persons sufficiently careless of clerical disapproval as to play tennis on Sunday instead of going to church. These and similar observations very much encouraged the doubters to doubt still more, and many began to give up praying to be delivered from that form of sin. But even now many people are, perhaps without realizing it, afraid to confront some of their beliefs with all the reasoning power they possess; yet this is what they must make up their minds to do if they really wish to clear away the rubbish that obstructs the paths that lead to truth. Theosophy is not for those who lack either moral courage or mental honesty.
Questions: Among the questions for which answers are most insistently sought, are the following: What is the purpose of life on this earth - is there any sense in it all, and if so, then whom or what does it serve? Does self-consciousness survive physical death, and if it does, what sort of lives are being led by our friends who have preceded us into the great beyond into which we too must enter before long? Did the story of our inner lives begin with the birth of the body we now inhabit? or, is it that:
"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,
The soul that rises with us, our Life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar."
And if Wordsworth's intuition was born of truth, then where and how did we live before? From what far country have we come, and shall we ever remember what we have forgotten? And then the questions with regard to pain and sorrow for which the Prince Gautama forsook earthly happiness to discover answers: The cause of sorrow? Its use? and how to end it?
The answers that Gautama found after he had become enlightened and a
Buddha are identical with those of Theosophy. Indeed, Theosophy is nothing less than a synthesis of the fundamental teaching that has been given to us by all the great Teachers and philosophers who have, from time to time, come amongst us to dispel ignorance and give new impulse to human thought. However much the adherents of religions and sects may differ and dispute over the claims made for the gods and creeds which they have invented, the Teachers whose names have been used to designate these religions, have always proclaimed the same great fundamental truths, and have never taught anything in opposition to one another. Antagonism has arisen through misunderstanding and mistranslations of the scriptures; from accretions that have been deliberately added or that have crept in; and through a strong tendency apparent in all ages to try to simplify and understand spiritual conceptions by dragging them down to a material level, and by personifying them, and then to mistake the formal expression for the truth it was designed to represent.
Theosophy, however, is able to answer some of the questions above referred to more fully and with greater detail than can be learnt from any of the ancient scriptures, for the reason that the Guardians of the Secret Doctrine (the source from which the esoteric teaching of all the great religions and cults has been derived, and about which more will be said later on) gave out to the public through their agent, Mme. H.P. Blavatsky, towards the close of the last century, more knowledge of the occult sciences than has ever before been divulged. Not that any question can be completely answered and finally disposed of, because everything in the universe is related to every other thing and, as our finite minds cannot grasp all the truth of the universe, we cannot comprehend the whole truth of any minutest portion of it; therefore, to us there must always be mysteries beyond mysteries. Theosophy does, however, suggest solutions to many of the puzzles of daily life; it gives us much information of incalculable value in our endeavors to live useful lives, and relieves our minds of all fears for the future. And this information is backed up with evidence and logic. It treats the visible universe and the invisible realms that interpenetrate and surround it as one great whole, and embraces in one system all the different branches of science, philosophy and ethics so that the teaching with regard to one branch is related to that of every other branch, and they are all complementary and necessary to each other. Herein Theosophy vastly differs from modern science and religious teaching when these are considered as parts of a single body of knowledge, for not only is science often at variance with religion, but different departments of both are frequently contradictory to each other. And yet how obvious it is that the truth with regard to one thing cannot be contradictory to the truth with regard to any other thing.
This correlation between the different branches and aspects of the Theosophical system is a warrant of its unassailable stability, and of its right to claim the attention and respect of all unbiassed students who are more anxious to find truth than to gain support for their own pet theories, convictions or prejudices.
Theosophy: With regard to the significance of the word, "Theosophy," Madame Blavatsky says in The Key to Theosophy:
"Theosophy is Divine Wisdom or Science . . . .
The term is many thousand years old."
and further on in the book she states
"The WISDOM RELIGION was ever one,* and being the last word of possible human knowledge, was, therefore, carefully preserved. [* The same all over the world and at all times. - W.B.P.] It preceded by long ages the Alexandrian Theosophists, reached the modern, and will survive every other religion and philosophy."
And in answer to the question: "Where and by whom was it preserved?" she replies:
"Among Initiates of every country; among profound seekers after truth - their disciples; and in those parts of the world where such topics have always been most valued and pursued: in India, Central Asia, and Persia."
And as proof of its esotericism, she states:
"that every ancient religious, or rather philosophical cult consisted of an esoteric or secret teaching, and an exoteric (outward public) wvorship. Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that the MYSTERIES of the ancients comprised with very nation the "Greater" secret) and "Lesser" (public) MYSTERIES - e.g., in the celebrated solemnities called the Eleusinia, in Greece."
Mme. Blavatsky then goes on to show how the Jews, Brahmins, Buddhists, and the Pythagoreans, Gnostics and others have, or had, their secret as well as their public teaching, and she adds:
"Finally, do we not find the same even in early Christianity, among the Gnostics, and even in the teachings of Christ? Did he not speak to the multitudes in parables which had a twofold meaning, and explain his reasons only to his, disciples? `To you,' he says, `it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven; but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.' (Mark 4-11) . . . Examples might be brought, from every country to this effect."
As to the cause of this secrecy, she says:
"Firstly, the perversity of average human nature and its selfishness, always tending to the gratification of personal desires to the detriment of neighbors and next of kin. Such people could never be entrusted with divine secrets.
Secondly, their unreliability to keep the sacred and divine knowledge from desecration. It is the latter that led to the perversion of the most sublime truths and symbols, and to the gradual transformation of things spiritual into anthropomorphic, concrete, and gross imagery - in other words, to the dwarfing of the god-idea and to idolatry."
Modern Theosophy, then, includes what was taught in secret to their pupils by the initiates of the ancient Mysteries, or at least a part of that teaching. The term "Secret Doctrine" has been used by Mme. Blavatsky especially to denote that body of occult knowledge which has been guarded by an association of adepts and initiates called The Great Lodge, whose headquarters are hidden away in a remote part of the Himalayas quite inaccessible to ordinary travellers. But of this more will be said later on.
This is the first installment of Mr. Pease's "Outline of Theosophy" to be printed in "The Canadian Theosophist" during the next several months. - Editor.