Vol. XXXIV, No. 12 Toronto, February 15th, 1954 Price 20 Cents
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document
STUDIES IN THE SECRET DOCTRINE
By The Secret Doctrine we mean the work of that name written by H.P. Blavatsky and originally published in two volumes in 1888. For these studies, an edition is being used that has the same page numbers as the original. Of the various editions, we shall not here seek to establish a practical superiority, since it is probably the case that each edition has been used to obtain deep understanding by serious study.
After the death of the author a third volume was added, supposedly constructed from her fugitive papers. The most authoritative explanation of its contents is given by Alice Leighton Cleather in her work, H.P. Blavatsky - A Great Betrayal. This third volume is still included in the edition of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, which made a different breakdown into volumes in later printings. The "third volume," as it is referred to in some quarters, will not be employed.
In the case of such studies as will appear in this series, it seems appropriate that the writer state his purpose and defend his authority, if he claims to have any. At the very outset, the writer announces that he does not have superior insight, so it does not seem right for him to have more information on these subjects than other students. Therefore, he intends to share his studies. Moreover, there is a spiritual law that one understands these matters only to the extent that he makes them understood to others.
II. Esoteric and Exoteric Doctrine
". . . the Esoteric philosophy is alone calculated to withstand, in this age of crass and illogical materialism, the repeated attacks on all and everything man holds most dear and sacred, in his inner spiritual life." (S.D. I, xx.)
Mighty sages of old, who perceived with their divine Eye the threads of existence, discriminated three systems of evolution in the world. As expressed in the S.D. (I, 181), the three are (1) the Monadic, (2) The Intellectual, (3) The Physical. Accordingly, there are three fundamental teachings in the world. They are (1) The Secret, (2) The Inner, (3) The Outer.
As well said in the Tao Te Ching,
"He who knows does not speak;
He who speaks does not know."
"He who knows" is the Monad which knows the Secret. "He who speaks" is
the Intellect which does not know the Secret. It is "He who speaks" but "does not know" that is the Saviour of Man, for He is the "Son of Wisdom" who fills the middle principle of man.
Perhaps this can be made clearer by considering an historical dispute. The Buddhists in India were confronted with this challenge: The opponents said, "Your Buddha is represented by you as having uttered these and those teachings. Yet you also refer to him as the `Omniscient One.' Clearly the teachings were not uttered by an `Omniscient One' for to speak means entering the realm of discursive thought which is antagonistic to the world of complete realization." Buddhists of certain schools answered that as follows: "You do not understand. The Buddha has never ceased to be the `Omniscient One.' His Omniscience is the fact of his Dharma-kaya in the Pure Abode. As a Teacher, He is twofold, (a) The Sambhoga-kaya in the Akanishtha Heaven, whence it proceeds nowhere, teaching the Esoteric Doctrine to the Yogins; and (b) The Nirmana-kaya in the Tushita Heaven, whence it proceeds everywhere, teaching the Exoteric Doctrine to ordinary mankind. The `Omniscient One' knows; the Teacher teaches. As to what He teaches, it is only Truth; for the Sambhoga-kaya teaches only the Truth which leads to no other Truth; the Nirmana-kaya teaches only the Truth which leads to other Truth."
The above will illustrate that "He who does not know" but "speaks" spiritual Truth may have a twofold speech: (1) The Secret, and (2) The Inner. These are what are called respectively, the Esoteric and the Exoteric Doctrine. The third type of teaching, the outer, does not here come into consideration: it is simply the chaotic worldly verbiage. But as H.P.B. said (S.D. I, xvii), ". . . . esoteric truths . . . ceased to be esoteric from the moment they were made public." This shows that the title "The Secret Doctrine" is only justifiable if the work sets forth Doctrines formerly Esoteric, now Exoteric. Hence, the basic teaching of the work must be (2) inner teaching, not (1) secret, or (3) outer. The incalculable value of The Secret Doctrine is that it is inner teaching illumined by secret teaching.
As was taught (S.D. II, 110),
". . . it is equally true that the Atman alone warms the inner man; i.e,. it enlightens it with the ray of divine life and alone is able to impart to the inner man, or the reincarnating Ego, its immortality."
III. The Diffusion
"The Secret Doctrine was the universally diffused religion of the ancient and prehistoric world." (S.D. I, xxxiv.)
In the course of patient scholarly research, it has been well founded that somewhere around the period B.C. 1500-1200, there was an invasion of India by a nomadic people who called themselves "Aryans" and who had a well-organized priesthood that chanted hymns called the Rig Veda. Some of those hymns date back to the very time of the invasion and others were composed later. Their language is closely related to that of the Zend Avesta, composed at a subsequent period in Persia. The indigeneous people of India did not immediately succumb, because the cities, when attacked, put up stronger fortifications. Eventually they were all overcome - the fate of the cities Harappa and Mohenjodaro (see Stuart Piggott, Prehistoric India, Pelican books).
At about the same time (ca. B.C. 1200), the ancient Hittite Kingdom of Asia Minor was destroyed (see O.R. Gurney, The Hittites, Pelican books). The language of the Hittites is related to Sanskrit, that is, Indo-European, but their culture was closely bound to Sumeria and Babylonia.
The evidence of many scholarly investigations tends to the conclusion that there was a people in Central Asia about the beginning of the 2nd millenium B.C. that spoke a language which is the parent of most of the modern European languages and of Sanskrit. This people in the course of the 2nd millenium broke up, going in different directions. An energetic, intelligent, ruthless people, they destroyed the ancient stagnant societies wherever they went, but were greatly affected by the old. What was taken from the fallen civilizations naturally differs from region to region and can be ferretted out only with extraordinary pains. Words for common objects are the tell-tale clues. Religious symbols are much more difficult signs to work with.
According to the statement of H.P.B., the Secret Doctrine was once universally diffused; and it seems that the upheavals referred to above are what produced the critical change, resulting in balances in different regions which were decided in one or another direction only after some time.
Thus in the West under Christian sterility, the Secret Doctrine almost completely vanished from the knowledge of man and was represented only by the trickle of Neo-Platonism, the occultists and mystics of the Middle Ages, the Rosicrucians and the like (who are discussed by H.P.B., in Isis Unveiled, 2
Vols.), as well as by a fund of mythology which became looked upon as the fantastic imagination of more childlike times.
In contrast, in the East the Secret Doctrine descends to our times as a veritable ocean of literature in the Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese languages. This may seem a surprising statement considering the appearance of some of the modern translations from those languages. However, it is fundamental to H.P.B.'s work that all religions reflect the Secret Doctrine more or less; we only assert that the Hindu and Buddhist systems reflect it more. We do not mean that any one text by itself represents the Secret Doctrine. The latter lies concealed in the Highest Nature of every living being. In the human kingdom there is the possibility of perceiving with that Divine Sight which sees itself in all things. How is this to be achieved?
The ancient teachers established the procedure of contemplating in the mind an approximation of the divine treatise which lies beyond the mind. In this way, we who live in the outer world operate on the inner world, smoothing it out so that it will accurately reflect the secret world. For this purpose, certain Indic works, because they are superb approximations, are of supreme usefulness.
ON THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES
By W.F. Sutherland
We may be sure that underneath the superficial history of the Greeks there existed a vast network of relations, cultural, social and economic, among individuals and groups of individuals, pretty much as now. And here it would appear that the time-hallowed institution of the Mysteries was central. The Mysteries could quite easily be adapted to purposes other than those of a religious or even a philosophical character, such as the perpetuation of the skills of the artist and craftsman, and even the preservation of these skills from the aggrandizement of those who would exploit them. The very secrecy which surrounded the institution would in itself be valuable, serving on the one hand for
the diffusion of knowledge among those deemed worthy to receive it, and on the other, preserving it from the profane, or, as the literal meaning has it, from those before the sanctuary.
For the most part, however, those among our scholars who are inclined to give due weight to the mystery tradition, and they are all too few in number, are inclined to emphasize one aspect or another only and to minimize the rest. G.R.S. Mead in his Fragments of a Faith Forgotten (1) deals with the tradition only from the standpoint of the ancient wisdom religion and its influence on the Gnosticism of the early Christian Church; John Yarker similarly deals with it in his Arcane Schools, but again only from one point of view, that of the influence of the Mysteries on the medieval guilds and on Freemasonry. (2) Finally, J. Osborne Ward ignores all these matters completely and in his polemical but fully documented work, the Ancient Lowly, goes into great detail concerning the organizations which were to be found among the workers in the early arts and crafts, and among the slaves. (3)
The very existence of these several treatments so divergent in their emphases points not only to the ubiquity of the institution, but also to its protean character, its powers of adaptation, and its ability to serve diverse purposes much as do our many associations, clubs and the like today.
Much is here speculative, since we are dealing with a period before recorded history began, but it is not unreasonable to suppose, with Yarker, that there was first of all a series of mysteries amongst peoples who had little need for the arts and crafts and who therefore confined themselves to speculations concerning the natures of heaven and earth. This would be at a time when the liberal arts and sciences, meagre though they were; the religions and philosophies; and possibly the crafts were in fact one, whether we consider them within local or regional cultures or among these cultures from place to place. Indeed similarities are here oftentimes so numerous as to have given rise to that most celebrated of controversies as to whether the ancient myth systems arose, through identical processes of evolution, or by reason of a diffusion from place to place. Possibly both schools of thought may be right, for agricultural and pastoral peoples, as well as the sea-faring, would naturally be vitally interested in astronomical phenomena, and the sea-faring would readily act as diffusing agents. Thus the whole of the Middle East including Egypt, as well as the British Isles, would come to possess much in common. It is regrettable at this point that we know so little of the Minoan culture from which, seemingly all else sprang, at least along the Mediterranean littoral. Such uniformities and unities as have been observed would come about naturally and easily seeing that most nearly everything in these earlier cultures was under the control of a dominant priestly and administrative caste, craftily to its own ends, or wisely, depending on the point of view. Winspear, in his Genius of Plato (4) hints at this unity, while others, such as Yarker affirm it.
Be all this as it may, symbolisms and myths in cultures as widely separated as those of China, India, Egypt, and Central America possess many identities.
"The Phrygians call me the Mother of the Gods; the Attic Aborigonies Minerva; the floating Cyprians, Venus; the arrow-bearing Cretans Diana; the Sicilians, Proserpine; and the Eleusinians, the Ancient Goddess Ceres. Some also call me Juno, others Bellona, others Hecate, and others Rhamnusia. And those who are illuminated by the rising Sun, viz. the Ethiopians, the Arii, and the Egyptians skilled in the ancient
learning, worshipping me by appropriate ceremonies, call me by my true name Isis."
The Metamorphosis of Apulius.
This early unity seems to have been disrupted in Greece, through a more practical emphasis on the arts and crafts, and Yarker goes on to say that the early Mysteries separated in prehistoric times into two main branches, not competitive in any way, but rather complementary, the difference being one of associated activities rather than of formal ritual or even of myth or symbol. He cites the Eleusinia as typical of his first or religious branch, and the rites of the Cabiri as typical of the second. "The time had come when Art in Greece would be learned outside Mysteries (the Eleusinia) which henceforth constituted a holy drama influencing the theatre and the mystery plays of the Christians."
The Orphic and Bacchic rites are supposed to have been of Egyptian origin as were the Eleusinia, these latter having been founded in 1429 by an expedition from that country. The Cabiric Mysteries which were celebrated in Samothrace are, however, supposed to have come down from the Pelasgi, the people who preceded the Hellenes in Greece, and to have dated from the day when the artificers of the Cyclopean masonry were active in the Mediterranean basin. Yarker believes them to have been earlier than the Indo-European invasion in their origin. The Cabiric rites celebrated in Samothrace are supposed to have been of indigenous origin.
According to Mead, the Eleusinia were typical of the state-controlled institutions of their time, and seemingly they had fallen on evil days, for they offered admission to the public on terms so lenient that finally nearly every citizen of Athens became eligible for admission. It sufficed merely that the
candidate be well and appropriately educated. And though the Eleusinia still provided for several stages of advancement, emphasis had shifted to the gorgeous ceremonies offered to the public, the inner ceremonies having become perfunctory "as indeed must always be the case with state-controlled institutions."
It may well be that Mead is here overly censorious since the initiation ceremonies were under the direct control of the Hierophant who, in the very nature of things could never be wholly subservient to anyone. We suspect rather that he played the role of mentor, sometimes wise in counsel, and we note that many centuries later, the then ruling Hierophant, Maximus, taught the Neoplatonic doctrines to Julian the Apostate. We may therefore affirm that the Eleusinia offered something more than a mere drama, holy though it was, and emotionally stimulating though it may very well have been.
We may further suppose that the progressive dynamic character of the Greek culture must have profoundly altered its heritage. The relations which had formerly subsisted between church and State in the older river cultures along the Nile, the Euphrates and the Ganges, could no longer be wholly maintained in this new environment. Theocratic controls would necessarily be weakened while, relatively, those of the State would be strengthened, even though the terrain, mountainous and with abundant access to the seas, would work to diversify and weaken state-controls also. A relationship would thus ensue not unlike that which has been in effect in England where the Established Church performs its offices in the shadow of the Crown but alongside other and more independent religious bodies, all being faithful according to their several lights to the one basic religion, some being easy going and catholic in their attitudes
toward human frailties, others being puritanical. Thus in Greece, the Mysteries can be separated into several species and sub-species, according to origin, ritual, and ostensible objectives.
We learn something of this from Clement of Alexandria, for although Clement was an avowed propagandist for the Christian faith and as such had his own axe to grind, he did distinguish between the Mysteries, although he is exceedingly reticent just where we are most curious.
Wilson who translated Clement's Exhortation to the Heathen says: "The Exhortation, the object of which was to win pagans to the Christian faith, contains a complete and withering exposure of the abominable licentiousness, the gross imposture and sordidness of paganism". We need not here go into the tedious details of this third century expose, but it is worth while to note that Clement quite clearly was himself an initiate into the Mysteries. For passage after passage points to personal knowledge. Some of these are worth quoting:
"And what if I go over the Mysteries? I will not divulge them in mockery, as they say Alcibiades did, but I will expose right well by the word of truth the sorcery hidden in them; and those so-called gods of yours, whose are the mystic rites, I shall display, as it were, on the stage of life, to the spectators of truth.
"Demeter and Proserpine have become the heroines of a mystic drama; and their wanderings, and seizure, and grief, Eleusis celebrates by torchlight processions . . . . .
"Perish, then, the man who was the author of this imposture among men, be he Dardanus, who taught the mysteries of the Mother of the Gods, or Eetion, who instituted the orgies and mysteries of the Samothracians, or that Phrygian Midas, who, having learned the cunning imposture from Odrysus, communicated it to his subjects. For I will never be persuaded by that Cyprian Islander Anyras, who dared to bring forth from night to the light of day the lewd orgies of Aphrodite in his eagerness to deify a strumpet of his own country. Others say that Melampus the son of Amythaon imported the festivals of Ceres into Greece, celebrating her grief in song.
"These I would instance as the prime authors of evil, the parents of impious fables and of deadly superstition who sowed in human life that seed of evil and ruin, the Mysteries.
"And now, for it is time, I will prove their orgies to be full of imposture and quackery. And if you have been initiated you will laugh all the more at these fables of yours which have been held in honor. I publish without reserve what has been involved in secrecy, not ashamed to tell you what you are not ashamed to worship . . . .
"And the following is the token of the Eleusinian Mysteries: I have fasted; I have drunk the cup; I have received from the Box; having done, I put it into the basket, and out of the basket into the chest . . . . What are these mystic chests? - for I must expose their sacred things, and divulge things not fit for speech. Are they not sesame cakes, and pyramidal cakes, and globular and flat cakes, embossed all over, and lumps of salt and a serpent the symbol of Dionysus Bessareus? And besides these, are there not pomegranates, and branches, and rods and ivy leaves? and besides, round cakes and poppy seeds? And further there are the unmentionable symbols of Themis, Majoram, a lamp, a sword, a woman's comb, which is a euphemism . . . .
"Oh unblushing shamelessness! Once upon a time night was silent, a veil for the pleasures of temperate men; but now for the initiated the holy night is the telltale of the rites of licentiousness; and the glare of torches reveals vicious indulgences. Quench the flame,
(Continued on page 191)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I recently received a special number of Serenidad, a national magazine published by the Peru Section of the Theosophical Society. It was issued to commemorate the memory of the Founders and almost eighty years of Theosophy in the New World. It is beautifully arranged and well illustrated with photographs of all the General Secretaries of America and of their headquarters. Canada is represented with a picture of the General Secretary and one of 52 Isabella St., Toronto, and a short outline of the Movement in this country. It concludes with an expression of appreciation and goodwill to their brethren in Canada. I have written the Editor thanking him and reciprocating his sentiments and those of the members of Peru.
It is with deep regret I announce the deaths of two of our members: - Mrs. Harriet Hobson of Toronto Lodge who passed away last December. She joined the Society in 1934, and was a regular attendant at the meetings right up to within a few weeks of her death. Her presence will be missed by all who knew her. Our sympathy is extended to her family. Also Miss Martha Marsden of the Orpheus Lodge who passed away in December last. She was a faithful supporter of the Cause, and was a regular attendant at all meetings and will also be sadly missed. Our sympathy is extended to the members of the family.
One of the amenities of a General Secretary is in being honored by many letters and cards of esteem expressing good wishes to the members of the society in the country in which he happens to preside. Whilst seemingly personal they are, of course, not so, except in a few cases; most are meant for the Section at large. At Christmas and New Year especially many of these come to me and very pleasant they are to receive; I wish all of you could participate in reading and viewing these expressions of goodwill. In my capacity as General Secretary I reciprocate by sending cards and letters of acknowledgment on your behalf. I have but recently sent out a number of these and to those to whom I have not written, I desire hereby to express my thanks and yours for the good wishes sent to Canada from all parts of the world. All this helps one to realize what a wonderful Brotherhood we belong to, and the splendid work it is doing in shedding the Light of Truth for the betterment of Humanity.
- E. L. T.
The Quarterly Meeting of the General Executive of the Theosophical Society in Canada took place at 52 Isabella St., Toronto, on Sunday, January 10. Members present were Miss M. Hindsley; Messrs. D.W. Barr, C.M. Hale, G.I. Kinman and the General Secretary. Beyond ordinary routine there was nothing of general interest to report ex-cept a matter pertaining to "Autonomy of Lodges" which has been before the Executive for some time. After reading the out-of-town members' reaction to the subject it was finally moved and carried unanimously that "The consensus of the members of the General Executive is that the article already published in The Canadian Theosophist on the subject by W.Q. Judge covers the point under discussion." The date of the next meeting was arranged for April 4, 1954. The meeting thereupon adjourned.
- E. L. Thomson, General Secretary
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
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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.
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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.
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THE ANNUAL ELECTIONS
Nominations for the office of General Secretary and seven members of the General Executive should be made within the next month and should be sent in before the first of April. Will the officers of each Lodge kindly see that this matter is brought before their Lodge, and then arrange to have the nominations sent at once to the General Secretary. According to the constitution, nominations must be made by the Lodges and consent of the parties nominated should be obtained. Nominations should be sent in a separate letter to the General Secretary, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ont.
- E. L. Thomson, General Secretary.
THEOSOPHY IN CANADA
In twenty-one years' time or there-abouts, if we are to believe what we have been told, some One, will appear upon the screen of time, to provide the necessary impetus to resuscitate Theosophy for another hundred years. Think of it! Another 100 years! That will bring us to 2054! Let us hark back to 1854, one hundred years ago, and see what was afoot Theosophically then. The Founders of the Theosophical Society were living and carrying on groupwork with a handful of students in different countries. H.P.B. was in the prime of life and on the threshold of mystical adventures that were to carry her to a height of prominence in Occult work that is not the lot of many. Did Blavatsky bring Theosophy to the Western world or did Theosophy bring to the Western world, Blavatsky? The Star we know as H.P.B. traversed the firmament at a time when the East was East and the West was West. Neither was aware that the revolution in France had sown the seeds of a new Age, although half a century had passed. Perhaps a mere dozen or so in the West - one of whom was he whom we today know and speak of as `K.H.' - were prodding and striving to awaken the Victorian complacency to an awareness of the slumbering twentieth century giant! These were the `few' of that Age and their names shall be indelibly inscribed upon the scroll of liberty! Those of us who were around at the turn of the century will recall that living then meant something vastly different than it does today. Even the Boer War was just a hunting party to provide Empire Builders with an excuse to annex a property of peaceful burghers who happened to have valuable gold and diamond deposits. That was the 19th Century Swan-song!
From 1904 - and this date will never be forgotten - scientific achievement has marched hand in hand with world
destruction and devastation. Undreamed of miracles and pseudo blessings have been showered upon us by the dozen. To even enumerate them, astounds one! Electricity! the telephone! the automobile! the aeroplane! the tank! radio
television! atom bombs! hydrogen bombs! health serums! and many, many more, the least of which is, psychology! All in a short span of fifty years! Then we `believed', now we must `know' - the hard way! Horus, the Flaming God, has come to stay with us for many a year and His ways are something that it behooves us to enquire about. We can continue for a while - perhaps, - immersed in our dreams of yesterday, or we may `shatter' them to bits and remold them nearer to our heart's desire!
In building the new Universe of Tomorrow - the one you and I will incarnate in - there is a place for Theosophists -Blavatskian Theosophists - Inconoclasts and Fighters! How many go forth from our lectures and meetings, initiated? Or do they rub the sleep from their eyes, turn up their coat collars and wonder what it was all about? Let us face the facts! 1975 is just around the corner and we will soon be face to face with the Master's Theosophical Ambassador who will enflame us to carry high the banner bearing the White Cross for another 100 years! - The White Cross so clearly displaying the four `L's' for - Life! Light! Love and Liberty! which now, then and always is the Law! We must not consider the cost. Now as never we need martyrs, men and women prepared to suffer the `slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,' as did H.P.B. so that posterity - which shall be none other than ourselves - can survive. This is the work of the White Brothers - we all KNOW it - and to shirk our responsibility, places us irrevocably in the camp of those who would still keep Christ crucified! Whatever assails us as individuals, will manifest as a state of consciousness. If 'that state in which we live' is irksome to us, and those with whom we associate, depress us, let us remember that it is Our consciousness with which we are living. We can do something about that, can we not?
Let this then be the Good Spiel from the Kitchener Lodge for the New Year. Let us take these matters unto our Counsels and unite in a single effort to spark Theosophy to something vital, alive and real. Quality not Quantity! So Mote It Be!
INTERNATIONAL VEGETARIAN CONFERENCE
14 January, 1954.
To the Editor, The Canadian Theosophist.
Dear Mr. Barr: -
May I point out an error in the report of the International Vegetarian Conference published in your last issue - It stated that there was no delegate from Canada, but Miss Helmi Nieminen of Silvercreek Health Baths, Toronto was appointed delegate from the Canadian Vegetarian Union. However the official greetings of the Toronto Unit had been sent in before we knew that Miss Nieminen, one of our earliest members, would be able to act as our representative; this may have accounted for the mistake.
We are very grateful to Mrs. Scott Nearing for her fine report of the Conference at Sigtuna, and hope to hear Mrs. Nearing and Professor Scott Nearing in Toronto in April.
Yours very sincerely,
Eva M. Budd, Secretary, Toronto Unit, Canadian Vegetarian Union.
"Whose would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness."
A facsimile of a New Year's card sent by H.P.B. to Wm. Q. Judge.
The plates of this card were kindly loaned by Mr. Iverson L. Harris of Alhambra, California.
[[After the T.S. seal, the card reads:
NEW YEAR GREETINGS
The sense of Duty cometh first;
Then followeth Steadfastness;
And zealous Work the jewel is
That crowneth all
"There is no Religion higher than Truth"
HPB's handwriten note reads:
Warmest Wishes for health - fortune & success in 1890, to W.Q. Judge from his truest and sincerest friend H.P.B.
"We should forgive many things in others, but nothing in ourselves." (Theosophical Memo for 1890.) ]]
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist,
We wish to express our appreciation for printing our letter of November 12th. Secondly, we regret to call attention to an error on p. 156 of the same issue: the compilation we have been printing is by Margaret Thomas rather than Miss West. The reader might also infer that it was being done in book form available for distribution. We wish it were, but it was in serial form, completed for the time being in our October, 1953, number, and we have few copies to spare now.
Meantime we should like to put in our oar on the controversy between Mr. Barratt and Dr. Bendit.
"Plagiarism," at least as used in the United States, refers to lifting without
credit the work of another author. Independent discovery of the same thing, or parallel writings by authors mutually unknown to each other, are quite common. Therefore the prior existence of Babbitt's book in itself is not evidential. Moreover, Leadbeater, as Barratt points out, refers to Babbitt's book. The point then is not whether Leadbeater plagiarized - if there was plagiarism it was by Jinarajadasa who later removed the reference - but whether Leadbeater claimed as an independent clairvoyant observation of his own, something that he really got only from Babbitt. This would be a lie worse than plagiarism, the operative question is: "Was the `discovery' true?" It is obvious that if the "finding" had no reality, it is improbable that Babbitt would evolve a false hypothesis and that Leadbeater would either suffer a hallucination, or concoct a fable of the same kind, and independently. Hence if it can be shown that the Leadbeater atom is a myth, he stands automatically convicted of a lie. Without trying to complete the case here, we shall show in a near issue of our own, that the Leadbeater atom has no standing and no verification in either science or Theosophy; by Theosophy, we mean the teachings of the Mahatmas and H.P.B. An important question is whether the character and life of C.W. Leadbeater were such as to create confidence in the reality of such a teaching. This covers a wide field indeed, and one which, also, we reserve for fuller treatment.
Leadbeater claims to have discovered 18 "ultimate" atoms in the hydrogen atom, some years before divisibility of the atom was found by science, hailing this a great proof of his method. But science found that the hydrogen atom has one electron and one proton, two instead of 18 "minor atoms." It is clear that whatever it was that Leadbeater anticipated, it was not the scientific theory of the atom. That the atom was divisible, was no discovery of Leadbeater's either. As shown by the Secret Doctrine, Sir William Crookes, in 1888, advanced a theory which included the following: (1) the term "ultimate atom" as a component part of the chemical atom; (2) the consolidation of the chemical atom from primal "seeds" of this nature; (3) the existence of isotopes. (The last about 30 years before the "official" discovery.) This theory, which startled the British Association, was approved by H.P.B. but was too much for the science of the day, which laid it on the shelf until revived far in the present century - with very little credit given either Crookes - an early member of the Theosophical Society - or to H.P.B., in whose work this important anticipation is enshrined as mainly true. Whatever the doubts as to how much Leadbeater got out of Babbitt, one must assume that he at least read the Secret Doctrine. Science discovered the truth of what Crookes and H.P.B. said: it never did find an "atom" of evidence for Leadbeater's eighteen part hydrogen atom or any others of the string of vases, jugs, and other fancy figures that parade through Occult Chemistry. This is the all-important point: If Leadbeater's atom can be shown to have any evidence of its existence whatever except in the statements of Leadbeater, then one can plausibly arrange Babbitt, Crookes, and Leadbeater side by side as co-discoverers of a truth, Leadbeater as an elaborator and improver of the others. (Not a great achievement, since all they could do at best would be to follow feebly a long distance behind what had been firmly established by Adepts thousands of years ago.) But if it can be shown that no evidence exists at all for the existence of such an atom, that it contradicts what is known about the atom scientifically, and that it contradicts what is said about it in the Secret Doctrine, which was all dictated and/or checked by the Mahatmas themselves -
then the Leadbeater atom has no leg to stand on except the faith of neo-theosophists in Leadbeater's character and powers. It can be shown that this is the case. This is the overall indictment: let us now deal with that inherent in the description of Leadbeater's methods.
Ab initio, there is an off-color touch in Leadbeater's claim to have "anticipated" scientific discovery. The only thing he had in common with scientific discovery was the mere divisibility of the atom, which he could not possibly have discovered, as we have shown. Second come the impossibilities in his descriptions of method. He claims as the primary method, "simply an intensification of ordinary sight." He appears to have recognized that the rods and cones of the retina could not, no matter what the "intensification," register anything as minute as an atom, so states that this "intensification" is the power to divert light from these to the "etheric matter" of the eye. But here he escapes the Scylla of physiology to fall into the Charybdis of optics. No light can render visible the form of an object smaller than its own wavelength. This difficulty is met in observing bacteria, of the order of 0.0001 centimeters in length. It is ameliorated somewhat by using ultraviolet, but only moderately.
The molecule, often containing thousands of atoms, is of the order of 0.00000001 cm. or 1/10,000 the size of anything that can be seen by light. Roughly speaking, to see the atom at all, to say nothing of detail, would involve seeing something about ten million times as small as anything that light could
possibly show even as a blurred object - no matter how much "intensified." Obviously, it is a complete absurdity to speak of any such vision as due to "an intensification of ordinary sight." It would not only require "etheric matter" in the eye, but a "light" wholly beyond the conception or definition of light as used in "ordinary sight". Also: the electron microscope was invented to get around just this difficulty. In the first place, this instrument was developed from a theory of the atom wholly contradictory to that of Leadbeater. In the second place, it does show atoms. That is, at a magnification of 175,000,000, it will show circular shadows in the arrangements where the theory places the carbon atoms, say of a benzene ring. The hydrogen atoms attached to such a ring, are so very small that it requires considerable imagination to make out their shadows at all on an electron microscopic plate. Many of such photographs have now been made, thus verifying the teaching of H.P.B. that the primal form of all beings, from atom to angel, is spherical. No jug or vase has ever once appeared out of the empyrean to steady up the wobbling fame of C.W. Leadbeater. Of course, on the same basic principle of optics, the claim of "color" as a property of the atom, is unconditionally absurd. "Color," in the visual sense, is the effect produced on the retina, not by "spirillae" within an atom, but by waves due to the mass motion of whole molecules. Considering the "atom microscope" - everything said above is also fatal to that notion; in addition to the fact that the atoms could not be organized into microscopes without first a thorough mastery of them by the above discredited method of "intensified sight."
Further foolishness appears in the claim that to see a very small object a very small microscope is needed. The reverse is true. The only manner in which an atom microscope could be useful in observing an atom or anything else, would require an observer of atomic size. It is surprising that Leadbeater did not think of shrinking himself - no great feat in a cult claiming that the best way to destroy an evil
"thought-form" was to "get inside it and expand suddenly." (This was an actual answer to a question which appeared in a neo-theosophical magazine - probably written by Leadbeater himself.)
A sinister aspect is put on the thing by the fact that Leadbeater's atom was credible enough - or at least, no tangible fact was known to discredit it at that time, in science. But a scientific theory which at this date has produced the atom and hydrogen bombs, actual pictures of atoms - in their molecular arrangements, which follow the theory, and by an instrument, the electron microscope, which was built upon that theory, has something more on the ball than pure fancy - especially as it agrees point by point with what was said in the Secret Doctrine, which latter ought to mean something at least, to anyone with the face to call himself a Theosophist. And it is precisely that theory, standing side by side with the S.D., that says NO! to the Leadbeater atom.
Leadbeater's procedure is more logically explained, step by step, in the following:
1. The derivation of the divisibility of the atom from the Secret Doctrine.
2. The adoption of the Babbitt atom as its detailed form.
3. The absences of adverse scientific evidence at that time. (1895. )
4. The setting aside of the Secret Doctrine teachings, under cover of the systematic attacks and attempts to relegate her to the back shelf, almost 100 percent successful - which were at that time accompanying the attacks on Judge, who was trying to uphold her work to the death.
5. The hypnosis of Annie Besant, probably by Leadbeater himself, into seeing the same forms; a process described as "magnetization" by her when G.N. Chakravarti "imparted" to her the "power" to see and hear a "Mahatma" giving her instructions in that famous case.
Now the above implies not only conscious dishonesty on the part of Leadbeater, but the active practice of black magic on a fairly potent scale. Here we perforce also enter the question of character. Was Leadbeater that sort of man? His claims in themselves place him as having the powers of a very high being - in fact, as having powers which the Mahatmas themselves never claimed. The fact of his making it shows that he must have been a Mahatma, a charlatan, or a lunatic. We think the case is sufficiently proven by the incident reported
by Wood, p. 156-57 of your December number. It is simply an incident of inciting a vacillating victim, by appeal to pride, vanity, and authority, into committing perjury in support of Leadbeater's claims.
We fear that those who cannot see the insidious and dishonest nature of this incident - to say nothing of the absurdity of the view of "clairvoyance" involved - just do not speak enough of the same ethical or Theosophical language, for any real means of communication to exist between themselves and us. But this incident is quite typical of the entire Leadbeater psyche-twisting upon which this cult was based. Nor do we see how anyone could possibly have any faith in his "clairvoyance" after the Krishnamurti fiasco - which also involved a fanatical appeal to exactly those elements of personal religion most detested by the Masters.
Now, since Dr. Bendit chooses to divert the issue by personal aspersions against Mr. Barratt, while at the same time ignoring in deep silence the strongest points made by the latter, we think that some respects paid to the learned Doctor also are in order.
He claims to be one of the "intelligent F.T.S." who "reserve a balanced judgment" in regard to "matters beyond
their ken" - such as Leadbeater's visions. Credibly said visions are beyond his ken as visions. But is the question of whether or not the visions were real in themselves, whether or not Leadbeater was a fraud or delusionary, beyond the ken of any "intelligent F.T.S. ?" If he says it is, he is merely saying that if someone puts forth an extravagant claim of knowledge beyond the normal mortal range, he thereby automatically puts himself beyond the question as to motive and truth. This is merely to say that intellect, reason, and individual perception, moral and factual, must always stand aside whenever a bold and unblushing claim of higher knowledge raises its head, at most adopting a purely neutral position. In other words, doubt is doubtfully legal, but actual opposition is the result of bias and bitterness. Opposition to Leadbeater is definitely opposed. This is no "reserved judgment." We cannot understand what he means by Leadbeater not claiming authority but setting forth his visions as actual personal experiences "for consideration." In view of the fact that Leadbeater and his friends claimed him to be "on the threshold of divinity," and that status was supported by the prestige of the most influential people in the Society what else could such a position be but the very essence of authority? Leadbeater left no moderate ground for opponents to stand on. By claiming that his experiences were personal and direct - the theme "I know, for I myself have seen," runs through his works like telegraph poles through a railway journey - he left no alternative for non-believers to consider him other than a liar or a lunatic, or both. It was either this, or surrender and keep silent - the act of a coward where one is honestly concerned over the welfare of the Movement. There is no room here for ordinary resolvable human errors of information or deduction. The man has to be a Mahatma, a blackguard, or a proper case for a padded cell, and is placed in that position precisely by his own acts and those of his devotees. This being so, any man has as much right to dub him a blackguard as another man has to name him a sainted adept - and to say so. Bendit obviously thinks that to exercise this right is a reflection upon personal character. The coexistence of this position with the claim of "reserved judgment" could only be considered hypocrisy except that it is so typical of the thoroughly confused mental processes prevalent in neo-Theosophy.
If your own remarks on p. 157, December issue, really apply to the Leadbeater "clairvoyance," they place him precisely as a pioneer writer of science fiction and fantastic fiction. We would not put his talents in that field very high, because he is not as good in style or plotting as Jules Verne or H.G. Wells; but we would not object much to him there, because he would not be the cause of misleading thousands of people philosophically and Theosophically, and of keeping split a movement upon whose ultimate success the fate of civilization depends. As it is, unless something is done to kill this mythology, it will go down the centuries as another of the false religions dividing mankind and leading to untold tragedy.
We will shortly - probably next issue - publish this letter with additional remarks to clarify the matter for our readers who do not see the Canadian Theosophist.
Meantime, we challenge Bendit to answer - answer, not evade - this letter.
With best regards,
Editors, Theosophical Notes. Box 65, Berkeley, California.
ANCIENT MYSTERIES (Continued from page 182 )
O Hierophant; reverence, O Torch-bearer, the torches. That light exposes Iacchus; let thy mysteries be honored and command the orgies to be hidden in night and darkness."
It is difficult to understand how Clement could so whole-heartedly condemn the mysteries in his Exhortation and later could condone, nay even speak of them, both Christian and pagan, with reverence, as a true initiate should. It would appear that Clement distinguished between the orgies into which most of the mysteries had degenerated, and these few only, perhaps, which had kept true to their original intent. As concerns the orgies the mind of the masses had levelled down to exotic levels myths and symbols capable of other and more exalted meanings.
That there was this other and more exalted side to the mystery and that it was the truly esoteric, to be carefully concealed, seems to be well supported by Clement himself in The Miscellanies. He says:
"Now this work of mine in writing is not artfully constructed for display; but my memoranda are stored up against old age, as a remedy against forgetfulness, truly our image and outline of those vigorous and animated discourses which I was privileged to hear, and of blessed and truly remarkable men.
"Of these the one in Greece, an Ionic; the other in Magna Graecia; the first of these from Coele-Syria, the second from Egypt, and others in the East. The one was born in the land of Assyria, and the other a Hebrew in Palestine.
"When I came upon the last (he was the first in power), having tracked him out concealed in Egypt, I found rest. He, the true, the Sicilian bee, gathering the spoil of the flowers of the prophetic and apostolic meadow, engendered in the souls of his hearers a deathless element of knowledge ....
"The writing of these memoranda of mine, I well know, is weak when compared with that spirit, full of grace, which I was privileged to hear. But it will be an image to recall the archtype to him who was struck with the Thyrsus. For "speak," it is said, "to a wise man, and he will grow wiser; and to him that hath, there shall be added to him." And we profess not to explain secret things sufficiently - far from it - but only to recall them to memory. . . Some things I purposely omit, in the exercise of a wise selection, afraid to write what I guarded against speaking; not grudging - for that were wrong - but fearing for my readers, lest they should stumble by taking them in a wrong sense . . . . . Some things my treatise will hint; on some it will linger; some it will merely mention. It will try to speak imperceptibly, to exhibit secretly, and to demonstrate silently . . . ."
The "Thyrsus" was the wand of Dionysus, usually a hollow reed, tipped with a pine cone. It was used by the Hierophant in the initiatory ceremonies of the mysteries, and like the Caduceus of Mercury it symbolized the spinal column, the fennel reed in which Prometheus brought down the divine fire of reason from Heaven. Clement's teachers, contrary to accepted belief, need have had little connection with the Christian faith. They, from the things Clement jots down, would seem to have been of that class who taught Thales, Pythagoras, Plato, and others of the immortals.
(To Be Continued)
Through joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, the soul comes to a knowledge of itself; then begins the task of learning the laws of life, that the discords may be resolved, and the harmony be restored. - Lucifer.
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