Vol. XXXIV., No. 2 Toronto, April 15th, 1953 Price 20 Cents
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document
By N. Sri Ram, President
Delivered at Adyar, February 24, 1953
I deeply appreciate all the affection and the trust which have been displayed toward me in messages from members in so many countries of the world. I treasure their goodwill and sympathy. But I remember, and I think it is well for everyone to remember, that it is always more blessed to give than to receive. One can receive many presents, much affection, praise, support, all kinds of things which we consider good in the worldly view. But to receive all this is as nothing compared to the giving of something from one's own heart, and what one possesses, to another who is in need.
The President is he who should serve best. Whether such service will be rendered by me is another matter. I want on this occasion to greet you all, each one, with brotherly affection, and from this place, all members everywhere throughout the world.
I have said before but would like to say again on this occasion that if such an organization as The Theosophical Society, engirdling the globe and composed of men and women of every race, religion and nationality, all devoted to the very highest aims in life, were not in existence, it would have to be created. The Society is an organization which is as broad-based as it is noble in structure, with a breadth of Brotherhood that excludes none, but includes all men and women, nay all lives, and an aim that reaches up to the summit of human perceptions and aspirations. This Brotherhood, which is irrespective of every difference of creed, race, sex or color, is the only creed, if creed you call it, demanded of a Theosophist, who is otherwise as free as, nay more free than most men who are bound by various allegiances, to come to his own individual convictions. Besides this Brotherhood, all that is asked of a Theosophist, by the three Objects to which he subscribes, is the desirability of the comparative study of science, religion and philosophy - all science, all religion, and all philosophy - and the investigation of those powers which are latent in man, and of the laws of Nature which are still unknown and unexplained.
Even the word "Theosophy" does not find a place in the wording of the Objects. We are called, or call ourselves, Theosophists only because we belong to The Theosophical Society. The aim of Theosophy is implicit in the title, "The Theosophical Society," and although the word has obviously a certain transcendental connotation, lending itself to such translations as the Divine Wisdom, the Wisdom of God or wisdom concerning
God, the meaning of that word and what it implies have never been specifically defined by the Society. By legitimate inference we may be held to assume that there is a Truth, a superior Wisdom, to be had by such men and women as ourselves, and it is for us to discover it. For some, of course, it is more than a mere intellectual thesis. For they have in them a deep intuition as to such knowledge, a knowledge as good as any other knowledge, which is as much a knowledge of themselves as a knowledge of things perceived in relation to the self. It is of this integrated knowledge that we may say that all external knowledge is but a detailed reminiscence.
I believe that the Freedom which we claim and need to exercise is the very breath of that Spirit which each man is inwardly, and that there is no seeking possible except in the purity and expansiveness of that freedom. We all possess, even the prisoner in his prison, a certain relative freedom, but we can never rest there. The whole cycle and adventure of human existence is in a sense a search for something which is an absolute, which is as much absolute freedom as absolute anything else, a search for the freedom which was lost in the beginning, and is regained in the end.
Our progress, therefore, whether as individuals or as any society, lies on the one side in the progress of thought and action to the perfection which is its goal, and on the other, in a more inward view, it lies in an expanding freedom from every psychic and external fetter. In this inner freedom alone is true happiness; I believe that in it is the secret of self-origination, of self-discovery and self-realization.
The Brotherhood we proclaim, and seek to realize in our lives, is not a dogma incompatible with freedom. Nay, more positively, it can be stated that there can be freedom for the soul only in a state of harmony realized through Brotherhood, which is the only true, pure, free and balanced relationship in life. The foundation of every metaphysical philosophy, if it is to be a structure of truth based on experience and not mere fantasy and vain speculation, must be laid in a mode of living, a way of looking at all life and a behavior, to which the term Brotherhood may be truthfully applied.
Therefore, if our Society is to be a truly Theosophical society, and to progress and fulfil its mission, it must embody a mode of living on the part of its members, in which there is an ever-deepening realization of brotherhood, and, as an open sky stretching over the earth, an ever-widening horizon of thought, bringing ever-new intimations to the human spirit. Our freedom, which spells this openness, and our Brotherhood need to be interpreted, not superficially in any spirit of self-satisfaction and complacency, but as aspects of a dynamic Truth which we are seeking to probe, the Truth which inexorably guides the revolution of life.
If our Society and its lodges are ever to become mere respectable clubs for the practice of social affability, though I do not decry the value of any such club, they will fail of their dynamic purpose. Nor will the purpose be any the better served by intellectual disquisitions and formal argument. One of those Beings, to whom we refer as the Adepts or the Masters of the Wisdom, was reported in the early days of the Society to have commented on the uncertainties of its aims at that time: "Rather perish the T.S. with both its hapless founders than that we should permit it to become no better than an academy of magic, a hall of occultism." Not that there is no true magic or Occultism in Nature. For, what is magic but the production of effects, by means with which the vast majority are still unacquainted, and
Occultism but the study of those inner extensions, the hidden laws and forces, that lie behind the screen of their outer effects?
But what we have to realize profoundly in our Society is that all our studies, deep and superficial, whether through books or by direct and personal experience in any form, cannot be divorced from living. As both life and thought reach back to the same origins, it has been said of old in India, and again during the lifetime of the Society, by the Adepts who were connected with it: Live the life and you will know the Truth, which is the same as the Christian saying: He who doeth the will of the Lord shall know of the doctrine. As the Truth, the integrated knowledge, to which I referred in the beginning, lies within and not without us, it needs but to be uncovered by a mode of life which permits its rays to spread out.
What is Truth? Every formulation by a pure consciousness which is in harmony with its own nature is a truth. Such truth is more than mere mental coinage. It is a creation of the Spirit which embodies a portion of its life. The Society, if it is to lift the world from its present plight and help to bring about the great changes that are needed, must be a channel of that life.
The Society was launched into existence at a time when human thought and interest seemed to be heading towards deeper levels of materialism, and the course of human history was inexorably making for that revolution which this century has been witnessing in an increasing measure. I believe that amidst this revolutionary change it was planned to spread a spiritual leaven, the effect of which would be both to transform human thought and unify mankind. As even in the very early days of the Society, its leading members - Mr. Sinnett, for instance, not to speak of H.P.B. - saw "the large purpose" behind the then small movement, I am not perhaps merely reading that purpose into the events that have happened. I do not claim that the Society is the sole instrument or medium for the change that was to be effected. Also, Theosophy being in essence and in its ultimate totality not a dogma but a life, there may be many in the world who are true Theosophists without ever having come across the word Theosophy, just as there may be many members of the Society, attracted in some manner to it, who are yet to become Theosophists.
If the Society has progressed thus far and made some mark on the mentality of the times, I would attribute this achievement as much to the lives of those who lived Theosophy - the great leaders, such as H.P.B., Colonel Olcott, Dr. Annie Besant, and C.W. Lead beater, as well a s others, including very many who have silently played their parts in their respective places - as to the force of the ideas promulgated, which being true, have made their way solely by virtue of that truth. Life is action, and thought is action, as much as any overt public deed or achievement, though it may be that some of our thoughts fall short of the true purpose of action, which is to unfold the latent harmony of life.
Our duty is therefore to act and make Theosophy practical, but in no narrow sense. The unity that binds life in all its manifestations makes it vain to separate the theoretical from the practical, that is, if the theory is true. There is nothing so subjective but has an objective expression and effect. A man's thoughts - I include his feelings, of course - at least mold his countenance to some extent and surely make themselves felt in his behavior. But I do not think that the Society as such should commit itself to particular courses of action in the external world, not only because of
the differences of opinion which all such actions are calculated to provoke, but also because the manner of expression of every truth tends to limit that truth and, when well established, to check the possibility of expression in other forms and of other truths. There is a grain of truth in most things sincerely believed in, even when they express contradictory ideas.
Hence, a true Theosophist is limited by no label, no party, no denomination. His is an outlook which seeks ever to synthesize all that is true, good and beautiful, which synthesis cannot but be an expression of the unity that underlies them all. There is no such thing as Theosophy here and truth there, with a possibility of conflict between them, wherever the truth may come from. Theoosphy is Truth, and all truth is necessarily part of it. But the Truth which belongs to the essence of things, and is not a mere projection of the mind, is a truth that is inseparable from its effect and action. Theosophy is therefore Wisdom in action, and he who would be a true Theosophist is he who is wise in life and action.
The present is especially a time which forces us all to be more than ever conscious of that primary ignorance or Avidya as it is called in Sanskrit, which seems to wax with the increase of material knowledge. Seeing the human mind in engagement with the world of matter, we may note both its triumphs and its limitations. Man needs to discover, besides the increasing diversity at the physical and sensational levels, fostered by a limited, earthbound mind, the nature of the unity by which alone these diversities can be molded into a form consonant with his own true nature. In that unity, which is not a mere number, not an abstraction without significance to our lives, must lie both the aim and the motive power of our efforts.
I referred at the beginning to the fact that the Society stands for a joining together of all men and women on the broadest possible basis. If it is a union of hearts born out of the free will inherent in them, it must inevitably find its expression and achieve a basis in the practical organization of mankind on unitary, yet free and autonomous lines. We can see a definite move in that direction in the U.N.O. and other forms of international cooperation. But along with this union in the world of practical affairs, and as a parallel to it in the world of thought, the integration of all available knowledge, there must be a reaching upward of the soul of man, stripped of every encumbrance and released from every fetter, towards that Truth which is one and universal, yet is in the heart of every man. The One exists; the many change and pass; the Truth is one, or there is but the One; the learned speak of it many-wise. I am combining some famous lines of an English poet with some ancient words from Sanskrit. It is the form which that Unity takes which we speak of as Theosophy or the Divine Wisdom.
Our task as Theosophists, along with all others who are either naturally idealistic or are moved to be so by the necessities of their knowledge and experience, is to lead the world to a new age beyond the mind which, despite its triumphs, sees and reasons, but superficially. I believe the world is set for the growth of a new civilization, nurtured and fed on a fresh harvest from the best seeds of existing cultures, a civilization in which all that is best in the East and the West will be fused into a spiritual and practical unity. Our duty is to work for a new order in which all things will be different from what they are, will have a different purpose and a different beauty, because each man will in some degree have then realized his kinship and duty towards all other men,
nay towards all life, including our younger brethren, the animals. When that day dawns - we seem to see its glimmer on the far horizon a little more than the early leaders of the Society - it will make possible the evolution of a new humanity exercising a pure Intuition, in addition to a pure mind, making all things beautiful as well as good. We have to make these great possibilities come true, by illustrating, each one of us where he is, a new way of life, which will be a way of love and wisdom. In so far as we negate whatever evil, whatever wrongness, whatever superstition, there is in our habitual modes of living - in our thoughts and our relations with others - we will be releasing a positive good. So the way is open for each one to tread; for it lies at his feet.
Each one of us counts, and not only the leaders. Each can be in himself a well of pure inspiration. Each can gladden and purify the earth where he is. Each can shine as a star of righteousness in his celestial latitude and, longitude, however dim the vision of others towards its light. I cannot conceive of a greater destiny for the Society than to be transformed into a body of men and women, who live and labor to such a glorious end. It is a great superstition to think that he who makes a fuss, a great disturbance, achieves more than he who is quiet and humble, that the limelight is preferable to the darkness; it is in darkness that we perceive the heavenly lights. Each has his part in the work, and none is really afore or after the other, in true importance, respect, worthiness or indispensability.
As an organization, all of us concerned with it have to be constantly on guard against that universal fate of decline, the process of entropy, to which every system or organization seems, to be subject. We must set a tone and quality, a standard ahead of the standards of the world in everything that we do, through everything we express, be it the work of lecturing, lodge discussions, the business of lodge affairs, the conduct of elections, or the very appearance of the lodge room, the beauty and order that should characterize its appointments. It is idle to imagine that we can be slack and disorderly in relation to external matters, in our traffic with the not-Self, and attain to that self-mastery and perfect order that belong to the inner soul or Self. As has been said by our great Founder, H.P.B. (I am adapting her words): It is in the right perception of things objective, and the right handling of them, that we shall discover that sole Reality which is ever subjective.
As to the future of the Society, though we may plan our work and must plan with an eye to that future, it is best assured by our concerning ourselves with the very best we can do in the present. It is by what we do now that we determine what is to come. Each will fare inevitably according to his deserts, whether individual, group, society, nation, or even the whole of humanity. If we deserve great leaders, we shall have them. If we prepare for a fresh spiritual influx from those heights to which we are able to look up, such an influx must surely come. Let us resolve, each on his own account, to do the best he can in the tasks committed to our hands.
May those who are the great Guides and Guardians of Humanity, the Masters of the Wisdom, the Adepts, the Rishis, find in us a willing and pliable instrument for Their purposes, and give us that benediction and help by which we will be able to achieve all things that it is necessary to achieve. In India we end every good undertaking with the chant, Peace to all beings. Perhaps I might on this occasion end with the words, Peace and goodwill to all beings.
WM. Q JUDGE
April 13, 1851 - March 21, 1896
The work of Mr. W.Q. Judge is not as well-known to the Adyar membership as it should be. When Col. Olcott and Mme Blavatsky left America, where the T.S. had been founded, and went to India, Mr. Judge was the only one remaining who staunchly and steadily carried on with the work there. He went through his personal difficulties and private trials, failing and succeeding as all do who persist in occult work. He missed one major opportunity, but he went on. When others were fearful and half-hearted, W.Q. Judge was faithfully loyal to H.P.B. He grew in power and began to command increasing respect. He was the focal centre for the American growth of The Theosophical Society. Holding meetings alone when no one joined him so far as physical plane associates were concerned, he inspired others to help him to build it to a body of 100 lodges and 6000 members. He was appointed Vice-President of the Society in 1888, and unanimously voted President by the American and European sections in 1892 when Col. Olcott had declared his intention of resigning. The Indian Section was not called on to vote however, as Mr. Judge joined in successfully persuading Col. Olcott to withdraw his resignation.
This growth in power of W.Q. Judge was due to his occult training, according to Mme. Blavatsky. Writing to him in 1886 she said he had not realized the change that had taken place in him a few years before, when a Nirmanakaya had blended with his astral nature. In 1886 she was urging him to go to India, "Take my place, Judge. You will make up in devotion what you lack in occult knowledge. I will give you my share of The Theosophist." He did not do so, but came to London in 1888 to join her in making plans for forming the Esoteric Section. In this year she said he had been a chela for 13 years, "of all the chelas the one who has suffered the most and asked the least". She appointed him head of the E.S. in America, "the Antaskarana between American thought and . . . . trans-Himalayan Esoteric knowledge", "the only man in the Eastern and Esoteric School in whom I have confidence enough not to have extracted from him a pledge", "my only friend", part of herself "since several aeons", "my dearest brother and cofounder of the Theosophical Society", "one of the three founders of the Theosophical Society, the only three who have remained true as a rock to the Cause", "The Resuscitator of Theosophy in the United States", "the heart and soul" of the Theosophical Society in America. "It is to you chiefly, if not entirely, that the Theosophical Society owes its existence in 1888. Let me then thank you for it, for the first, and perhaps for the last, time publicly, and from the bottom of my heart . . . On this important occasion, my feeble voice is but the echo of other more sacred voices, and the transmitter of the approval of Those whose presence is alive in more than one true Theosophical heart, and lives, as I know, pre-eminently in yours." "Take my place in America now", she wrote, "and, after I am gone, at Adyar"; "Judge is one of the Founders and a man who has ever been true to the Masters . . . and Judge will be president of the T.S. after our death or the T.S. will die with us".
- from Eirenicon No. 105.
The festival of Easter, which is usually considered to be exclusively Christian, was not recognized in the early Church - as a matter of fact, the sanctity of special days and places seems to have been quite alien to the early Christian mind.
The introduction of Easter into the church festivals is attributed to the influence of Jewish and pagan customs. Apparently the Jewish members of the new movement continued to celebrate the Passover and in time the feast came to be looked upon as a Christian one commemorating the resurrection.
Early in church history a long continued and bitter controversy leading ultimately to a schism, sprang up between the Christians of Jewish and those of Gentile descent. The Jewish Christians considered that Easter should follow immediately after the fast of the Passover, irrespective of the day of the week. The Gentile Christians held that the first day alone of the week should be identified with the resurrection and that the preceding Friday should be kept holy in memory of the crucifixion. In 197 A.D. the controversy became so bitter that Pope Victor excommunicated the members of the Eastern Church who insisted upon observing Easter immediately after the Passover.
In the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., which was assembled to compose the various differences between factions of the church, it was decided that Easter should always be held on a Sunday and that `none should thereafter follow the blindness of the Jews'. The Council held many stormy sessions, and the intolerance, bigotry, ignorance and craft displayed by the assembled bishops, reflected the black cycle which was slowly descending upon the age ,and enveloping the `good tidings' of Jesus - a cycle which for centuries swept downwards (Continued on Page 24)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
Recently I received a cordial invitation from the Theosophical Society in America inviting delegates from our Section to visit the Annual Summer Sessions which will be held in Wheaton, Illinois, as follows:-
Worker Conference - July 11-15
Convention - July 18-22
Summer School - July 24-29
Mr. C. Jinarajadasa and Mr. Geoffrey Hodson of New Zealand will be special speakers. A very warm welcome will be extended to delegates from the Canadian Section. Anyone wishing to attend should apply to me for further information which I will be very glad to give.
For the past eight years Mrs. Dudley Barr has been the librarian of the Travelling Library of the Toronto Lodge and has but recently relinquished the position. This institution is well-known throughout the National Society and has grown considerably since Mrs. Barr took it over, mainly due to the efficient manner in which she maintained a voluminous correspondence with the many borrowers throughout the Dominion. In conjunction with this there has been an immense amount of labor and time expended on the parcelling and receiving of books, to say nothing of keeping the catalogue up to date, and many other details one does not usually think about. I hereby express to Mrs. Barr our sincere gratitude for a job well done. The work of the Travelling Library will be carried on by Mrs. Gladys Hanley.
- E. L. T.
Behold but One in all things; it is the second that leads you astray. - Kabir.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Authorized as second class mail, Post Office Department, Ottawa.
- Subscription: Two Dollars a Year
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
Charles M. Hale, Box 158, New Liskeard, Ont.
Miss M. Hindsley, 745 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Ont.
George I. Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Avenue, Toronto, Ont.
Peter Sinclair, 4941 Wellington St., Verdun, Quebec
Washington E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C.
Emory P. Wood, 12207 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, Alta.
Lt.-Col E.L. Thomson, D.S.O., 54 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
To whom all payments should be made, and all official communications addressed
EDITORIAL BOARD, CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
All Letters to the Editor, Articles and Reports for Publication should be sent to The Editor: Dudley W. Barr, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ont.
Letters intended for publication should be restricted to not more than five hundred words.
Printed by the Griffin & Richmond Co., Ltd., 29 Rebecca Street, Hamilton, Ontario
EASTER (Continued) into darkness, grossness and materiality until the last faint gleam of the Teacher's message was almost extinguished.
The Council of Nicea decided that Easter should be held on the Sunday which falls upon or immediately after the full moon which happens next after the vernal equinox. The date was established under the calendar which was then in use. When the Gregorian calendar superseded the Julian calendar in 1582, the ecclesiastical authorities continued to use the lunar cycle of the Julian calendar to determine the date of Easter, the date from which all other moveable church feasts are fixed. In the ecclesiastical calendar the fourteenth day after the new moon is fixed as the date of the full moon, regardless of the actual date of the astronomical full moon. The ecclesiastical full moon is therefore one to three days in advance of the calendar full moon.
All this reminds one of the words of the prophet Isaiah, who as the mouthpiece of the Lord declared; "Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me, I am weary to bear them. Incense is an abomination unto me, calling of assemblies I cannot away with. It is iniquity, even the solemn meeting."
Isaiah's words are indicative of the eternal conflict between the priest and the prophet, between the theologian and the seer. The priest tries to establish and perpetuate forms - forms which by their very nature, bind and restrict. The prophet and the seer are indifferent of forms and ceremonies, their minds penetrate to the inner idea.
Origen, the early Church Father who held that those who accept the Gospels literally were but ignorant persons, stated that for the Christian every day is Easter day.
This is the true mystical approach. The resurrection, or the rising again of the soul from the bondage of the lower self into the glory of its true higher nature, is an inner event which can take place daily, or any day, in the life of a disciple. Meditation at night before sleep is one of the processes of disentangling the real man, the Self, from the events of the day - rolling away the stone from the daily tomb of his inner life.
H.P.B. in The Theosophical Glossary comments as follows:
The word Easter evidently comes from Ostara, the Scandinavian goddess of spring. She was the symbol of the resurrection of all nature and was worshipped in early spring. It was a custom with the pagan Norsemen at
that time to exchange colored eggs called the eggs of Ostara. These have now become Easter Eggs. As expressed in Asgard and the Gods: "Christianity put another meaning on the old custom, by connecting it with the feast of the Resurrection of the Saviour, who, like the hidden life in the egg, slept in the grave for three days before he awakened to new life." This was the more natural since Christ was identified with that same Spring Sun which awakens in all his glory, after the dreary and long death of winter . . . Eggs were symbolical from an early time. There was the "Mundane Egg," in which Brahma gestated, with the Hindus the Hiranya-Gharba, and the Mundane Egg of the Egyptians, which proceeds from the mouth of the "unmade and eternal deity," Kneph, and which is the emblem of generative power. Then the Egg of Babylon, which hatched Ishtar, and was said to have fallen from heaven into the Euphrates. Therefore colored eggs were used yearly during spring in almost every country, and in Egypt were exchanged as sacred symbols in the springtime which was, is, and ever will be, the emblem of birth or rebirth, cosmic and human, celestial and terrestrial. They were hung in Egyptian temples and are so suspended to this day in Mahometan mosques.
P. O. Box No. 1, Ojai, California,
March 4, 1953.
The Editor, Canadian Theosophist.
Dear Sir, - The letter in your February issue signed by W.E. Wilks brings up interesting points on which I wish to comment briefly.
Is there any such thing within the Theosophical Society as an Authority? Are the Mahatma Letters any more of a
Theosophical Bible than the Secret Doctrine or Man, Whence, How & Whither?
If there is a member of the T.S. who claims to be an authority, is he not a prisoner of his own beliefs or fixed ideas, creations of his intellect within the field of the opposites?
Do not all so-called authorities, the Bible as well as the Eastern Scriptures, the Masters and all the great Teachers and Philosophers; tell us that the intellect can talk about Truth, but that Truth is incommunicable, that only the Intuition or Buddhi can know? Who then but Those who know, can deny or affirm the accuracy of any purely intellectual expression of Truth, which can only be known by each one for himself from within, by direct perception in the field beyond the thinking processes of the mind? Thus are we all free to choose from the widely varying expressions of the Illumined Ones, each of whom says it differently, that which most appeals to our limited understand-ing.
G. H. Hall.
The Editor, Canadian Theosophist.
Dear Sir: Re Dr. Wilks' claim that the Mahatma Letters can be clearly understood; one does not have to search far through the Letters to find that the Masters on several occasions found it difficult to make Sinnett understand their meaning - and they mentioned language as a factor though whether the English language or the fact of having to use words at all rather than telepathise, I know not. And if this is true of Sinnett to whom the letters were addressed, how much more so for us - most of us anyway - for whom they were not intended? But I can sympathise with the Masters, for several times
in the past years I have denied Dr. Wilks' persistent assertions that I am trying to foster the Liberal Catholic Church. I am not interested in any church whether it stands or falls; what language must I use in order to make this clear? The Church is incidental, a mere point of illustration. I am upholding a principle - that if the Constitution of this Society is of any value, no man has the right to say on behalf of the Society "This is Theosophy; you must believe, or reject as false, according to this teaching."
- Cedric Weaver.
Where Theosophy and Science Meet, Vol. 2; second edition, revised and enlarged, containing Part III, From Humanity to Divinity, and Part IV, Law, of the first edition; articles from twentythree contributors, edited by D.D. Kanga, M.A.; published by The Adyar Library, Adyar, Madras, India; 588 pp., with index, price 15 Rs.
Scientific materialism, as distinguished from the Marxian brand, has now gone the way of those picturesque deities who thundered down the corridors of the sky. But when Madame Blavatsky wrote her mammoth and richly documented volumes - The Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled - mechanism was the prevailing theory of reality. This was the tendency to reduce all experience to the three categories: matter, motion and mechanical law. Since all phenomena, in the materialistic purview, were mechanically determined it was natural that "thoughts" should be interpreted as disguised expressions of physiological change and freewill, in consequence, a theological myth.
Since Einstein, however, the term "matter" has resisted all efforts at precise definition. In the Newtonian universe if you abstracted all the energy from the world there would still be left material objects and the absolute container space. But in the Einsteinian universe if you were to banish the total sum of cosmic energy straightway all phenomena, and time-space with them, at one fell swoop would vanish.
In view, then, of the new physics with the attendant decline in prestige of the behaviorist psychology as well as the disinclination, among biologists, to identify the forward advance of the evolutionary Principle with the mechanisms of adaptation and natural selection which It utilizes for Its purposive ends, a critical re-examination of the scientific outlook in the light of the ancient teachings has become an imperative requirement of this century.
The volume entitled Where Theosophy and Science Meet issued by the Adyar Library of India, in 1937, and edited by Dr. C.C. Kanga, Physical Science editor of the Bombay University Journal, was both a courageous and ambitious attempt to meet this need. The performance of the task called for selfless dedication, Herculean labors and a more than casual acquaintance with the various sciences. It was perhaps in consideration of such factors as these that reviewers of the book, both within and outside the Theosophical fold, tendered Dr. Kanga and his cooperating group of monographists (some of whom are of international repute) unstinted praise for their accomplishment. Reissued in 1951 the compendium contains three additional monographs: Dr. Kanga contributing two essays on Food and Economics; and Dr. Kewal Motiwani, writer on sociological subjects and university lecturer, at one time secretary of the subcommittee on Science and Social Relations of the Indian Science Congress, furnishing a lucid article on Sociology, indicating where Theosophy goes beyond, when it does not actually contradict, the orthodox concepts.
Dr. Motiwani points out that the pre-
occupation of sociology with empirical data which is mathematically measurable is limited in comparison with the Theosophical range which relates moral and spiritual characteristics to numbers, and religious or cosmological truths with mathematical symbols. He is in disagreement with the belief, current in sociological circles, that morals are only the social mores conducive to survival. And in Nietzschean vein he declares: "It is the few dissenting voices that have lifted humanity from its animal level . . . These men . . . are the mouthpieces of the values and ideals to which ordinary mortals must be constantly recalled."
Dr. Kanga in his monograph on Economics discusses the causes which lie at the root of the world's economic malaise and urges a reorientation of thought consonant with the Theosophical weltanschauung. In his opinion individual freedom, initiative and uniqueness will not be submerged in a planned economy if we adhere to the principle laid down by Mrs. Besant and "Do collectively whatever you can do best collectively, and individually whatever you can do best individually." One might state parenthetically here that the concept of absolute freedom is now generally recognized as belonging to that climate of opinion designated as folklore or mythology. Even Jeremy Bentham, the utilitarian of the nineteenth century who was one of the most ardent supporters of the laissez-faire principle, had the astuteness to perceive that certain compulsive legislative measures were the indispensable safeguard of democracy's ideal of freedom of opportunity. But the moot question of the hour is how any degree of self-determination can exist in a single party welfare state. Perhaps a system partaking both of private and collective enterprise, as Dr. Kanga favors, may ensure that minimum of individual autonomy without which moral and spiritual growth, the goal of raja-yogic training, is not possible.
- Alberta Jean Rowell.
THE SLEEPING SPHERES
(Continued from Page 5)
The Messenger had told me that, having thus seen the Devachanic life from outside, as it were, I should also go through the experience. His words had speedy fulfilment.
Before recounting what befell me thereafter, two points must be made clear.
1. The experience I passed through next was my own experience; it was not that of any other as to its details. For the act of dissolution, or separation, called "death", varies in details with individuals. So do the post-mortem experiences. All die, all pass through Kama-loka (or the place of desires), all have some Devachanic experience, even though mere materialistic minds sleep it dreamlessly away. But the details of experience are different with each human soul (Manas) that casts off a body. There are as many kinds of death, I may say, as there are souls, and not one unvarying experience for all. And why? Because it is not "death" at all, in fact. If we lived but one mortal life and then died, according to ordinary belief, the act of death might be the same for all. But as the human soul chooses now objective life and now life subjective, making now its own heaven-world, choosing now its own earth-place and experience, we can see that, though all pass the portals called Life and Death, the methods and details must differ with each. At a later period, I
came to a knowledge of other and different forms of death and after-death experiences, each typical of a given type of individual, or, to put it more correctly, of soul.
2. The second point is this. My own and first experience, which I am about to recount to you, was, to me, perfectly real. I did not, at the time, compare it with the previous sight of the sleeping Spheres, nor with anything else. I was plunged in the experience itself. I did not call it "death". I did not know it as "death". I lived it. I was that experience itself. I knew it only as a fulness of life hitherto unguessed at, one hitherto absent even from my highest imaginings, my most vivid dream.
Yet remember this. I lost sight of nonessentials only. Never did I forget for an instant the essential fact of the Ego, the fact of identity; I had full knowledge that the subject of this experience was "I myself". This seems a clumsy way of saying that my consciousness, though purified and uplifted, broadened also, still identified the Perceiver as "I". To put it after another fashion: I knew perfectly well all the time that it was "I myself" undergoing this new and beautiful life. My consciousness, while it perceived the identity of Being, the identity of souls, never passed into the All-Consciousness which is all-in-all and knows no separateness.
This fact alone shows that Devachan is not the highest state. It is the subjective existence of the personal and higher Ego. It is not the impersonal, non-separate condition of that Divine and Higher Self which is a state of the Divine Ego, and not a body or form. This Higher Self is a state of the Sphere, and may occur during the lifetime of the physical body, being entered at will by the white Adept who, by exercise of the purified and universal volition, or will-energy, can enter all and any state of consciousness at will. But Devachanic
existence is quite other than this highest state.
After I had passed back to the ordinary consciousness, then, and then only, was I able to compare the two events illustrated by the two parts of this article. Part I. is the Seeing. Part II. is the Being. Having had both experiences, I was able to complete one by the other, and to observe what point of seeing corresponded to the other point of being. For example, I saw what a change of color, such as I had seen, meant in the life of Thought through which I passed.
It is a difficult experience to make clear to you, and, my best plan will be to tell you first all that I went through, and afterwards to compare the two experiences of exterior observation, or sight, and interior observation, or being. In this way you will travel along the path taken by myself. If I were to stop at different points of my narrative for purposes of comparison, all the unity of experience will be lost and you will be confused.
Let me premise, therefore, that when this second experience came to me, the friends about me thought that I had in truth died. There were no signs of life, visible to the trained medical observation. Rigor of the body set in and continued for hours. All the death signs were apparent. Hence those who loved me went through the experience in another form, the most narrowing form, for they thought the soul beloved by them had again passed from mortal sight upon the wings of the air; that it might be rejoined, but would not return. So they mourned for me, plunged in anguish while "I myself" was with them in a fulness of life yet unknown. Take comfort, oh you mourners! You alone suffer in your blindness. For the so-called dead there is only exceeding great joy from which no beloved soul is absent, to which no sense of loss is possible.
When this experience first befell me I was lying upon my bed, whither I had been conveyed by reason of sudden heart failure. Great pain, throbs and nervous shocks vibrating deeply through my whole being, had caused me to close my eyes. A voice, well-known and well-beloved, seemed to speak to me from afar, and to pierce through a thick fog in my brain, a fog like an enveloping, down-pressing mist, with which the brain-matter struggled, striving to go through the motions of thinking, motions impeded by that increasing semi-material weight. I could not reply, but the voice spoke again, with an accent so imploring, so urgent, that I made a mighty effort, as it seemed to me.
Lift my heavy swollen tongue I could not; sound would not well up into the throat; not a muscle anywhere would respond to my will. Yet once again that voice besought me, and so great was the anguish it conveyed, that I could not endure the thought of such misery on the part of one I loved. Once again I made a desperate effort; I seemed to myself to writhe convulsively, to struggle with all my body, though I am told that no motion on my part was visible to the bystander; and then, at last, I succeeded in opening my eyes, to see dark earnest eyes, soul-lighted, gazing eagerly into mine. And then I saw no more. A deep breath passed through me and left me, and I fell into Thought. At this moment I appeared to the bystander to draw my last breath and to "die".
It was not the same so far as I was concerned. That look from eyes I knew so well started a deep train of Thought, in which I was soon steeped, immersed. This train began with thinking of the loved comrade's pain. Then I longed to soothe that pain. Upon this wish followed the thought that our philosophy, which we had tried to live, and which had been as a guide to our steps, must soon step in and forbid all grieving, all sorrow. Them, naturally, I thought of the times when these spiritual teachings had already supported us; on this followed rememberances of the time when I had not as yet heard of these teachings. This thought seemed to act like a sudden spring which, when touched, releases a concealed door; the whole of my life sprang out and filed before me in review, through that opened door of the brain.
Days of childhood, careless, unconscious, full of nature pleasures, joy in life and motion and the companionship of all the creatures; the human creatures like myself, and the dear animals who understood the childlife so well, it seemed; the underworld little people seen by childhood's eyes only. Slowly the opening mind grasped more and more of the fullness of Nature, the panorama of the skies swept in, the stately march of sound and color began. Rich delights held revel in the opening consciousness, only to be chilled by the cold dawn of self-consciousness..
The child began to feel itself apart from Nature, apart also from fellow-beings who spoke what it could not ratify. Misunderstood, miscalled, misapplied, was its little life. All that children thought was foolish; Life was other than it appeared to the innocent heart of childhood. Most of what was seen by a child's clear seeing did not exist, was not so understood, nor was it seen by the wise elder people; it was only the folly of naughty children, and, if persisted in, was punishable as a lie. The child must conform to accepted ideas, or suffer punishment. Thus children suffer with the pioneers of Truth.
The young heart and mind were docile; they strove to believe as they were bidden; they succeeded in a measure - and what then? What then? This, to wit - that the mind, developing further, observed that grown people did not
act what they believed - or said they believed. It seemed as if to think was one thing, to do was quite another thing.
A grim puzzle came before the child-heart. It said, in its puzzle, in its dim recesses: "What shall I do? Shall I think true, or shall I tact true?" And again: "If I say what I think and do it, I am naughty. But if I do what I am told and say what they teach me, I am good, and I want - oh! how I want to be good. But I don't understand it, and it isn't true to me. And if I even do what they tell me, I must think, and then I am naughty again." So a passionate sense of wrong sprang up in the child's heart, a wrong it could not define or name; just a cry far down in its nature for justice and for light.
But Nature wearies. A child cannot cope with the surging tides about it. To yield is easier for the plastic unmolded nature; persistence of struggle is not for the child. So, I say, it yields, or, rather, it sinks back exhausted, and then comes the fatal time; the time when the still developing sense-mind perceives the life of sense and pleasure, when these are tasted, understood, enjoyed. And then the lesson of thinking what one does not act upon, of believing things which have nothing to do with our lives the hateful lesson of not caring about the divorce of Thought and Life, but only for one's mere personal honor, only to speak the truth about objective events, to care for true speech more than for a true life, a true soul - this parrot lesson was learned, well learned, because it made life easy, it stifled care.
The child became indifferent to living a lie; indifferent to saying prayers it did not understand to a God it could not comprehend and ceased to care for, as a child will cease to care for anything. which is not vital, not necessary to its inner nature, and contrary to its ideas of justice - that justice for which children care so much and to which we may nearly always appeal. The eyes of the mind widened; they took in pain, cruelty, wrong; they found that no one cared much, that most people put these things out of mind; that they were done by an all-wise, all-merciful, loving God, as punishment.
But not all were punished. The child came to know of sins rewarded by the world and passed over by that God. It felt. It could not reason. It rebelled, Rebelled at its teachers; rebelled at the books; rebelled at injustice; clamored to be understood; cried out to understand. Love was all about it, but love could not soothe it. It wanted to know. The key to the riddle was missing. It was told it thought too much; told to go and play. And, childlike, it played, revolving its riddle. Childlike, it kept silence, for a child learns, soonest of all lessons, that silence is the great refuge from scorn, from mockery, from rebuke. Thus the first teaching of hypocrisy comes to the child, and it learns pretence as the only right of sanctuary left to man.
Still it wondered, still it dreamed. And then, all at once, in a day or a night a change swept over; material existence paraded its brilliant colors, its seductive sweets; the child rushed into the vortex of existence, it forgot, in pleasure, the need to understand. Life arose before it, alluring, exciting, full of strange things. Oh yes! there were death and joy and passion and new scenes and loves and hates, and all the delicate things of sense in sound, color, taste. In Thought, too, was pleasure, Thought of Art and Poetry, and love of dreams, and ideal hopes, all blended in one swift, ever-changing phantasmagoria. Sorrows came, and were half sweet after too much rejoicing. Gladness came and rescued from grief. All was new and interesting, all, except here and there a moment, an eye-wink, a
breath, as it were, a something that blew cold and chill and seemed to wither everything, a moment in which nothing seemed worthwhile, because nothing lasted.
And then came a new pang when the child, grown much older, discovered in itself a horror at the idea that these things should last. It had wearied of all, turning from one to the other. How dreadful the idea that any should last long, and longer still!
So Life surged by in a swift, flashing Thought. Distinct scenes too, of danger, of illness, of loss. There were those awful moments when the heart sees the beloved ones dying, and cannot follow them into the unseen with any certain hope. Those other moments too, equally terrible, when the unworthiness and falseness of things or persons trusted and beloved is discovered. The death of bright ideals befell. And over all, under all, the grim traits of unreality, the sense of the falsity of the whole of Life. The soul sought then some God, "for any God to hear the cry". For something real to rest upon. In vain, the world it knew was given over to change and unbelief; there was nothing, to live and to die by. Slowly one rung after another of Life's ladder was passed, and hunger for something real grew greater, fiercer, more burning, more intolerable, more maddening, until......
Ah! the dawn of the beautiful hour when the soul found itself. Yes, there, within the heart, above the mind, there, was a something real and true. Some spiritual teaching, it may be, which explained this tangled web of Life. Some truth discovered in sorrow nobly borne for others' sakes. Some truth in duty performed for duty's sake. Some glimpse of Love unfettered by self, a love that went out to the world and gave, and gave and gave again. What can it matter? The fact remains that the heart which had yearned for something true and for some high companionship found these. It reached out for an ideal whose very existence was denied by the intellect. The heart prophesied the Beautiful which the mind could not discover. And why could mind not discover that Perfection? For very simple reason which, simple as it is, has baffled whole races of mankind in turn. Because mind, Janus-faced, looks forward into matter and backward into spirit, and reports duality and not identity. For mind, the experiencer and reporter, deals only with effects. It does not sense the Cause, the Rootless Root. And this is because mind cannot of itself discover the formless, for Mind, the Mind Universal, is itself the first manifested Form. Unto the formed, all things have form; unto, the spiritual, all things are spirit. Now, the Heart of Love is spiritual. I speak, not of Love as we know it, for that is a reflected, distorted light. I speak of Eros, the One Ray, rather. Its reflec-tion, pure and universal, is to be found in the heart of every human being. And, the proper office of mind, the pioneer and discoverer of the objective world, is to cull experience after experience, and to offer these up to the heart, until that heart-star shall recall its ancient splendour, until it shall again see that truth and peace are not to be found in a world, of reflected effects.
(To Be Continued)
So said the Blessed One: The man who desires riches is as a child eating honey with a sharp knife. Before he can taste the sweetness, there remains to him nothing but the bleeding of his lips. So passes the glory of this world into nothingness. But the true, the unchangeable abides forever. He who sees about him the manifold goes from death to death. See therefore the One, and be free.
THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
The Theosophical Society was formed at New York in 1875. It has three objects:
1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.
3. To investigate the unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.
The Society affords a meeting place for students who have three aims in common, first, the ideal of Universal Brotherhood; second, the search for Truth, and third, a desire to associate and work with other men and women having similar aims and ideals. The acceptance of the First Object is required of all those who desire to become members; whether or not a member engages actively in the work contemplated in the Second and Third Objects is left to his or her discretion.
The nature and purposes of the Society preclude it from having creeds or dogmas, and freedom of thought and expression among its members is encouraged. An official statement on this point is; " . . . . there is no opinion, by whomsoever taught or held, that is in any way binding on any member of the Society, none of which a member is not free to accept or reject." The statement calls upon the members "to maintain, defend, and act upon this fundamental principle . . . and fearlessly to exercise his own right of liberty of thought and of expression thereof within the limits of courtesy and consideration for others."
Theosophy or `Divine Wisdom' is that body of ancient truths relating to the spiritual nature of man and the universe which has found expression down through the ages in religions, philosophies, sciences, the arts, mysticism, occultism and other systems of thought. Theosophy is not the exclusive possession of any one organization. In the modern Theosophical Movement, these ancient truths have been restated and an extensive literature on the subject has come into being. The teachings are not put forward for blind belief; they are to be accepted only if the truth that is in them finds an echo in the heart. Each student should by `self induced and self-devised' methods establish his own Theosophy, his own philosophy of life. The Movement encourages all students of Theosophy to become self-reliant, independent in thought, mature in mind and emotions and, above all other things to work for the welfare of mankind to the end that humanity as a whole may become aware of its diviner powers and capabilities.