Vol. XXXV, No. 3 Toronto, May 15th, 1954 Price 20 Cents
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document
WHITE LOTUS DAY
Once again the whirling cycle of the years brings White Lotus Day, and once again we remember especially H.P. Blavatsky, the messenger and agent through whom Theosophy was given to the world.
Slowly but certainly the importance of her work is being realized. There was a period in which H.P.B.'s writings were largely ignored and the works of other writers on Theosophical subjects were preferred. Theosophy went through the process of being diluted for easy and popular consumption, but while there are still many who prefer `the milk for babes' instead of the `strong meat' of the Doctrine, this tendency shows signs of being altered as more and more serious students are turning to the real source books of Theosophy.
In the last chapter of The Key to Theosophy, H.P.B. mentioned `the great need which our successors in the guidance of the Society will have of unbiased and clear judgment'. How true are these words of the present time. The Theosophical Movement has not yet "produced the `organized, living and healthy body' of students `for the effort of the twentieth century' - and the cycle of the next impulse is not far off. Individuals have realized that the continuance of the
cleavages in the Movement is wrong, but nothing has been done by the `successors in guidance' to correct the wrong. Pride, ignorance and a disdainful indifference have contributed to this; the situation will not be changed until either the increase in the number of those who desire to see the barriers removed is such as to force official action, or `the successors' themselves come together in round table discussions.
At the time of the original split, Mr. Judge addressed a letter to the European Convention of the Society, the last paragraph of which read, "Let us then press forward together in the great work of the real Theosophical Movement which is aided by working organizations, but is above them all. Together we can devise more and better ways for spreading the light of truth through all the earth. Mutually assisting and encouraging one another we may learn how to put Theosophy into practice so as to be able to teach and enforce it by example before others. We will then each and all be members of that Universal Lodge of Free and Independent Theosophists which embraces every friend of the human race." This plea was rejected by the Convention.
It is late, but not too late to attempt
to put into actual practice the spirit of Mr. Judge's words. On some White Lotus Day in the years to come that spirit will be a living, vital presence in all commemorative meetings of the reunited Theosophical Movement.
A DRAFT PRELIMINARY MEMORANDUM ON AN ALTERNATIVE POLICY FOR THE T.S.
A statement of policy is being prepared by an international group of members who aim to develop an aspect of theosophical work in the Society with a slant and perspective somewhat different from that now generally prevailing.
We believe the policy we shall advocate is a better one, yet we do not in any sense seek to force it upon the Society; we do however claim the right and freedom to pursue it, and to lay it before our brother-members for consideration, being content that the alternative policy being known to all, only those whom it naturally attracts shall adhere to it.
In the process of disseminating this we hope to prove that freedom of thought and expression really exist in the Society; and they only exist if those in positions of authority, nationally and internationally, willingly assist in seeing that all members have the opportunity of reading such a statement, regardless of whether those in office approve or disapprove of its contents. That is what freedom of expression means. To prevent hearing is just as suppressive as to prohibit speaking.
In the implementing of the policy, we shall seek to demonstrate that it is not necessary for divergences to cause separation among theosophical workers, but that it is quite possible for members of differing outlooks to work amicably together in Lodges and National Societies, inevitably influencing and modifying one another's views by honest and friendly interchange, when freedom prevails.
In putting forward an alternative policy there is no desire to capture any official power or position for a minority view. If our conception of policy is sound, it can be relied on to prevail by gradual permeation, including absorption by many of those in office, through the power of its own appropriateness and truth.
We shall however forthrightly claim that the constitution shall permit such freedom of nomination at Presidential elections as will enable a candidate to stand in order to reveal the measure of the support that the alternative policy has among the membership, should this course seem useful. To prevent the nomination of a candidate representing the views of a section of the membership is the equivalent of disenfranchisement, and in no wise compatible with the principle of freedom.
AN ALTERNATIVE POLICY FOR THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
A Tentative Draft, for Critical Consideration and Amplification
1. We who sign this letter believe that The Theosophical Society (Adyar) can be made into a far more powerful and effective organ for worldwide help in mankind's problems of living than it is at present; therefore we declare the principles of policy which we hold would, if acted upon, produce this desired result. We recognize the right of all members to hold other views and to advocate them; we claim the right to have ours freely and widely dissemin-
ated and discussed as an honestly-intentioned contribution to the wellbeing of the Society.
2. The Theosophical Society was, launched on the inspiration of some Masters of Wisdom through the prime agency of Mme. H.P. Blavatsky at a meeting in New York in 1875 attended by 16 founding members, including Col. H.S. Olcott, the first President, and William Q. Judge, the only other founding member who gave long and devoted service to the Society. During Mme. Blavatsky's lifetime the basic literature of the Movement was published. We hold that her writings and the letters from the Masters of Wisdom form the most valuable part of our special body of thought, and that members should be encouraged to read them. There is no book belonging to our Movement so widely read beyond our own circles as The Secret Doctrine and we shall be most successful in our work as we relate that work, The Voice of the Silence, Light on the Path, and the Masters' letters to the thinking of our own times.
3. We do not mean by this that Theosophy is to be sought solely in those sources - far from it, for H.P.B. herself ranged widely to draw theosophical thoughts from many diverse directions in the literature available in her time. Were she writing now we cannot doubt that she would revel, both in approving and critical quotation and comment, in drawing upon the vastly greater literature now available in the fields of comparative religion and philosophy, and the radically transformed scientific conceptions developed since her day. It should be our task to see what light is shed on current thinking by the teachings she expounded and whether or not they stand up to discoveries since her time.
4. Mme. Blavatsky said she was the agent of Adepts or Masters on whose behalf she was laying before the world a part only of truths known to them as facts, which mankind needed to face the times ahead that would be calamitous unless these doctrines were heeded. These teachings were not to be believed credulously but to be examined with careful, reasoned thought to test their truth. Her claim is strikingly important. The Theosophical Movements stands or falls on its validity. We are satisfied upon it; we consider all who investigate it impartially and thoroughly will likewise be satisfied, and we hold that it is a prime job of the Society to attract people to do so, and to help them to do it.
5. Hence our policy as a Society should not be to foist these ideas upon the public, but to present them for examination and investigation in a clear, lucid way as of great importance to successful living, both individually and communally, if true. We should throw the responsibility squarely on each hearer or reader to pursue the study of them if he will, and to decide for himself as to their validity, advising him to disprove them if he can, to accept as bases for action what he finds sound and proven, and to hold the mind in suspense about those concepts which remain for the present neither proven nor disproven for him.
6. The stress we lay upon the basic literature, which includes the original program for the Society, should not be construed as any lack of respect for the work of other devoted theosophical workers, both in the lifetime of Mme. Blavatsky and afterwards. Mr. A.P. Sinnett's The Occult World and Esoteric Buddhism should have a permanent place in our catalogue, and Mr. Subba Rao's The Philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita and Esoteric Writings. Of later writers. Mr. Bhagavan Das' works merit high respect, particularly The Pranava-Vada. Those of us who have derived much inspiration from the noble lectures of Dr. Annie Besant will always pay homage to her memory; her endur-
ing books are too numerous to list.
7. The Adyar Library, founded by Col. Olcott, is the Society's most distinguished contribution in the sphere of Oriental scholarship, and we should like to see it more widely known and its worth more generally recognized within our Movement, as it already is by many scholarly non-members.
8. Since the sad and separating terms of the 1890s our Adyar Society has largely deprived itself of a valuable literary heritage the Movement has in the works of W.Q. Judge. The contretemps that led to the fundamental division in the Movement can only be fairly assessed by informed individual judgment. It led to the exaltation of the work of Annie Besant largely and an ignoring of that of W.Q. Judge in our wing of the Movement, and an exaltation of W.Q. Judge and a critical attitude to Annie Besant elsewhere. In our view this imbalance should be corrected in our Society by the inclusion of the major works of Mr. Judge in our standard catalogue.
9. We regard the present relations (or lack of them) between the several branches of the Movement as a breach of the first principle of theosophical work - that of Brotherhood, and consequently a serious weakening in the power of the Movement to render its due service in the world. The main branches we refer to are The Theosophical Society (Adyar), The Theosophical Society (Pasadena) and The United Lodge of Theosophists, but we do not ignore lesser branches, and the principle applies to all. We hold that these breaches should and can be healed, but only members in all three bodies who behave as theosophists can do it. The Adyar Society alone cannot do it, but it should address itself to this radical problem in a fraternal and honest-minded spirit. The law of karma works. If we sow seeds of harmony in the Movement, there will be those in the other branches who will respond. If they also sow such seeds, there will be response amongst us. Organizational unity is not essential; fraternal concord is. In a world in which there is a growing interest in occultism, The Theosophical Movement should be outstanding as the united body of such students as are distinguished by the evident practice of brotherhood amongst themselves and in their relationship in the world, and by their mutual, equipoised respect for divergencies of understanding in their co-working.
10. As a practical expression of this policy we recommend the inclusion of The Friendly Philosopher by Robert Crosbie in general Lodge libraries in our Society, and the works of Dr. Gottfreid de Purucker in students' libraries. The circulation of the periodicals Theosophy, The Theosophical Movement and Sunrise together with The Theosophist, by Lodges strong enough to take more than one magazine, would undoubtedly add interest and widen the range of Lodges' outlooks. Economies could be achieved by joint publication of standard works used by all three main branches of the Movement.
11. Contrasting evaluations of the work of the Rt. Rev. C.W. Leadbeater are a major source of divergence among theosophical students. It is a primary characteristic of the Movement that every member is free to come to and accept responsibility for his own conclusion on all issues, and yet should retain fraternal solidarity with companions who think differently. Upon this basis the reports of Bishop Leadbeater on his psychic experiences and observations should have the close and honest examination of interested students, with supporting and critical considerations freely circulated for the guidance of members. If they are true and insofar as they are, they will withstand fair test.
If and insofar as they do not and are discredited, they should be discarded. We think however that they may be worthy of more thorough and careful assessment than they get from the more sceptical of his critics.
12. The books of Dr. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater jointly on Thought Forms and Man, Visible and Invisible we consider particularly useful efforts to make unseen aspects of man credible and vivid to beginners in theosophical study, and Bishop Leadbeater's work on The Chakras, similarly helpful to more advanced students. Their joint books on Man, Whence, How and Whither? and The Lives of Alcyone call for more cautiously critical appraisal. Occult Chemistry, which Mr. Jinarajadasa recently and enthusiastically reissued, is best treated as an interesting report of psychic perceptions. whose validity can only be established, as Mr. Jinarajadasa himself admitted, if there are further revolutionary discoveries in the field of atomic and molecular physics.
13. The books of Alice A. Bailey we consider should be as freely embraced in the scope of our literature as those of Bishop Leadbeater, and on a similar basis of individual responsibility for guarded appraisal.
14. The Liberal Catholic Church we regard as a branch of Christianity which it is easy for theosophical students with attachment to Catholic ceremonial to belong to. Its members are as entitled to membership of a Theosophical Society or Lodge as those belonging to other Christian Churches, and its ecclesiastical officers to the courtesies of address afforded to other Christian ministers; but it is no more immune from critical scrutiny and comment in the light of theosophical study than any other branch of world religion.
15. Universal Co-Freemasonry has diverted to its activities much energy and resources of members of our Society that would otherwise have been available for more direct theosophical work. These members are fully within their rights, and we hope that their work will be fruitful in permeating Masonic activities with more profound discernments of the powers denoted by the symbols employed. Nonetheless this is no part of our Theosophical Society's duty, and we wholly approve of the policy of dissociation adopted by the General Council, applying to all extraneous activities of members in their individual capacities. Many co-Masons are staunch and devoted theosophical workers, but we also appreciate and respect those who concentrate entirely on the work of The Theosophical Society.
16. The circumstances in which Mr. J. Krishnamurti was brought to public notice as a teacher were dramatic, and he has worked in a way that his patrons did not expect. He has asked that what he has to say shall be judged upon its merits, unprejudiced by any labels hitherto affixed on him. His wishes should be respected. We find his expositions a profoundly interesting approach to the practical problems of living relationships which we all share. Mr. Krishnamurti is no longer a member of our Society, but we advocate the inclusion of his work on our literature tables and in our libraries, for he is one of the most potent men before the public for vital, revolutionary changes in thinking, feeling and acting such as the world gravely needs.
17. The Theosophical Society will stand before the world in its full stature, attracting "the attention of the highest minds", as its members show themselves to be men and women of sound judgment, neither credulous nor unduly sceptical, capable of suspending judgment about statements beyond their knowledge either way. The open-mindedness that does not hesitate to accord full faith to everything validated within one's
own experience, and refrains from rejecting what is not disproven, establishes the right state of mind for unfoldment of inner spiritual understand-ing, provided that right affectional stability goes with it. The work upon ourselves in these directions is the essence of our pathward endeavors, and our supreme purpose must be to attract those ready and willing to pass through and beyond consideration of theosophical ideas to the inward recognition and realization of spiritual realities; for our Movement fails if it is not a recruiting agency for workers prepared to engage in self-training to be of increasing use in the world, through knowing spiritual powers and allowing them to act in our normal, daily lives.
- T. H. Redfern.
38 Chapel St., Hyde, Cheshire, England.
The Quarterly Meeting of the General Executive of the Theosophical Society in Canada took place at 52 Isabella St., Toronto, on Sunday, April 4, 1954. Members present were Miss M. Hindsley, Messrs. D.W. Barr, C.M. Hale, G.I. Kinman and the General Secretary. Ordinary routine took place, Col. Thomson read the Financial Statement which was duly approved. Mr. Barr reported that the expected rise in cost of printing had taken place and that it would mean an increase of $150 per year. Col. Thomson suggested that a further six volumes of the magazine be bound for records, etc. This was left in abeyance until costs had been ascertained. The General Secretary intimated that only four of the Lodges had sent in returns for nominations for officers for the coming year. As nominations were closed on the first of April, Col. Thomson informed the meeting that these lodges had nominated the members and General Secretary already in office. Mr. Kinman, President of the Toronto Lodge informed the meeting that his lodge had invited Mr. Sri Ram, President of the Theosophical Society for a three-day visit; in view of this, Col. Thomson suggested that the General Executive invite Mr. Sri Ram and his Secretary to luncheon at the Royal York on a suitable day. This was agreed to. The Minutes of the Meeting of the General Council held at Adyar in December were read in which the results of the voting of the General Executive made at the meeting held in October 1953, were noted. Of chief interest was the statement in regard to Amendments to Rule 10 of the Rules and Regulations of the T.S. Regarding this "It was decided to appoint a Commission to give a preliminary consideration to the proposals which had been sent in, and any others which might come in and present a report to the General Council at its meeting in December 1954." There being no further business, the meeting adjourned until Sunday, July 4, 1954.
- E. L. Thomson, General Secretary.
THE THREE TRUTHS
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
The Theosophical Society in America will hold its Summer Sessions at Wheaton, Illinois, as follows: - Workers Conference July 24 - July 28. Convention July 31 - August 4. Summer School August 7 - August 12. Mr. Sri Ram, President of the Theosophical Society will be present. If any of our members would like to attend any of these functions, I am assured they will be most cordially welcomed by our confreres in Wheaton. Those interested should apply to me at 52 Isabella St., when I will be glad to give full particulars.
I have just gone through the members file and to my astonishment found that over fifty have not yet paid their dues for this year, let alone for the coming one. The eleventh hour approaches when I must relegate unpaid members to the inactive list and discontinue the magazine. This I shall be very loathe to do. If the Society to which most of these have been members for many years is of such little moment to them, then, I suppose it does not really matter. But I would urge the members in question to give the matter their immediate attention.
It seems to me that quite a number of people accept positions of responsibiltiy with very little sense of the duties incurred thereby. I refer to the notices that appeared in our magazine recently in connection with nominations for officers for the coming year. Six of our lodges seemingly ignored them altogether for no returns were received. This does not evince a healthy interest in our affairs and is not conducive to the smooth running of the machine. Last year the same thing happened and I was hoping that there would be an improvement, but I am again disappointed. Our routine is greatly hampered by such delinquencies and I would again urge those holding office to take their responsibilities more seriously.
Another of our older members passed away on March 24 in the person of Mr. Robert Sinclair of the Toronto Lodge. He was transferred from Krotona, to the Canadian Section in 1922. He was well known to us all, being a regular attendant at the meetings and his presence will be sadly missed. Our sympathy and condolences are extended to those left behind.
Miss M. Hindsley has completed a most successful ten-weeks' course of occult astrology at Toronto Lodge. It says much for her tuition that attendance by the class of nearly thirty persons was maintained throughout, and at the close, like Oliver Twist, they asked for more. A series like this demands much preparation and sustained exertion and Miss Hindsley is to be congratulated on the success of her undertaking.
It was indeed a pleasure to welcome Mr. Sri Ram during his three-day visit to Toronto. During that time he endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact. He was admired for the intellectuality displayed in his addresses and especially for his charming unassuming personality which went to the hearts of all. I was happy to assure him on his departure of the heartfelt esteem of the Canadian Section and of its loyalty to him, not only as a person but in his office of President. As I said from the platform "in the past there seemed to be a barrier between Adyar and our Section, but now, I feel that it is a thing of the past, and henceforth our relations will be of a most cordial and
sympathetic nature". Our best wishes go with him on his tour and it is our hope that it will not be long before we see him again.
E. L. T.
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.
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Mr. N. Sri Ram, International President of the Theosophical Society, visited Toronto Lodge April 15-17, when he gave two public lectures and one for the members. All the talks were well attended; the title on Thursday evening being "The Teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita," and on Saturday, "The Transformation of Man". A reception was held Thursday evening following Mr. Sri Ram's address, when those present had an opportunity to meet him personally. His gracious and friendly bearing charmed everyone and it was a happy evening for all. On Good Friday evening "The Occult Path" was the title of Mr. Sri Ram's lecture to the members, and the earnest, attentive audience was rewarded with an enlightening and stimulating address. One of the members made a tape-recording of the Friday and Saturday night lectures and these will be played back for us at some future time.
We were happy to welcome visitors from a number of outside points. A group of five came from Buffalo for the first evening, and for the other evenings we welcomed members and friends from Montreal, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Ontario; and London, England. All of us hope that when Mr. Sri Ram makes another tour in the West he will be able to include Toronto in his itinerary.
The Occult Art of Ancient Egypt, by Bernard Bromage, M.A., published by The Aquarian Press, London, 204 pp. illustrated, price 15/6.
In this lively and interesting account of the occult arts of old Egypt, Mr. Bromage, in his foreword, makes a spirited defense of magic. He gives a vigorous and commonsense definition of what magic is and was. Furthermore he claims that entry into the world of magic is possible to all men and women of goodwill. "Anyone who has enough intelligence and sympathy to realize the infinite potentialities of the Universe, and the sacred places where his own life is laid, can consider himself a novice in the atrium - the outer court - of that school where are revealed those hitherto unsuspected secrets of Nature which will one day make this earth, compared with its present state, a Paradise, and its privileges the medium for an untold delight."
He believes that all magic as we know it has descended from an ancient Egyptian origin, and he explains that it was
not religion, because not primarily concerned with worship, but with empirical research into the nature of the possibilities of matter. As such, he says, it can claim to be "as much of a science as metallurgy or brewing".
The fact that priest and magician were generally one, ensured that the combination was one which the elemental beings of earth, air, fire and water found difficult to resist. The mystical devotion of the sacrificer, together with the expert psychology of the molder and evocator of force, made a most efficient hierophant of the mysteries.
He himself has always been attracted to the magical element in all religions and ceremonies, also magicians seem to be attracted to him. He seems to have met them everywhere he went, Egypt, Tibet, the southern states of U.S.A., and elsewhere.
His own experiences are among some of the most interesting parts of the book. He went so far as testing the efficacy of an ancient Egyptian remedy for headaches. He dwelt for some moments on the images of the Divine Beings mentioned in the spell; the pain went instantaneously! He adds, "How far autosuggestion played its part, I am unable to say. Neither is anyone else!"
The book is a very readable epitome of such things as are known to have existed in Egypt. He feels that a priestly race like the Egyptians, must, of necessity, have stamped a more than normal impression on those akashic records which he says, "are the very stuff from which clairvoyance, immediate psychic perception, clairaudience, and all the other components of our extrasensory faculty, draw their strength and their reality." He himself has always found that his own experiments are best produced in contact with mementoes of the very antique past.
For the author, the `Egyptian Dream' is one of the most real and authentic, and he instances the Tarot cards as the pictorial record of that Dream.
- M. H.
Walt Whitman, Philosopher, Psychologist, Prophet, by James E. Phillips, 42 W. 35th St. New York, published by the author, 24 pages, price 60 cents.
This is the text of a very interesting lecture delivered by the author to the New York Theosophical Society in August 1953. To the author, ". . . the voice that spoke through Whitman was the same that spoke through the ancient Hebrew Prophets. . . Whitman wrote as one possessed, overwhelmed by some great elemental force."
Many quotations are given from Whitman's poems illustrative of his attitude towards life, his perspective and inclusiveness, his sympathy with, tolerance towards and understanding of the race of men. "There is not a thing or person whom Whitman rejects as bad or useless. But this is not to be construed as implying that he accepted as finalities all the botched humanity he saw around him. He saw them just as Nietzche did, as mere stepping stones from animals to free spirits, or what Whitman called Great Companions of the Open Road. Comparisons are made between the utterances of Whitman and similar thoughts from Nietzche's Thus Spake Zarathustra.
This is an evocative booklet for all lovers of `the good gray poet' and is an excellent introduction for newcomers to the writings of one of the world's truly great seers whose message is of special significance for our age.
Copies may be obtained direct from the author, or in Canada, from the Toronto Theosophical Society.
- D. W. B.
STUDIES IN TH SECRET DOCTRINE
No. 10 Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis
Three Fundamental Propositions have been set forth. Cosmogenesis has been compared with the first seven members of inner Dependent Origination.
To make use of all twelve members of Dependent Origination, or the twelve nidanas, implies a correspondence to both Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis, respectively, the two volumes of The Secret Doctrine.
Now we take into consideration some terminology of the third Fundamental Proposition. We note two phases in evolution: (1) natural impulse (how the "spark" passes through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara); and (2) self-induced and self-devised effort, checked by karma (how the "spark" acquires individuality).
To set Dependent Origination in correspondence, we have recourse to symbols taken from external Dependent Origination. Hence, it is said:
1. Covered with manure
2. Is a field, which supports
3. A seed,
4. Its shoot,
5. Twigs, and leaves,
7. And fruit.
In this way we symbolize the first seven nidanas as the stages of a tree. Those seven had been previously set in correspondence with Cosmogenesis. Therefore we assert: natural impulse is the operation of Cosmogenesis, the subject of the first volume. But who can define the limits of the "natural"? It has room for both the "commonplace" and the "marvellous."
Furthermore, it is said in external Dependent Origination
8. Who desires that fruit,
9. Takes it,
10. Eats it, -
11. Gives birth to pains,
12. Shrivels up and dies.
In this way we symbolize the last five nidanas as the stages of animal life. The five are usually stated as (8) trshna (or tanha) `craving', (9) upadana `taking', (10) bhava `becoming', (11) jati `birth', and (12) jara-marana `old age and death'. Therefore we assert: self-induced and self-devised effort is the operation of Anthropogenesis, the subject of the second volume.
In short, seven is the number of Cosmos (symbolized by a tree); five is the number of Man (symbolized by a sacred animal). Together, they make twelve, the number of the Year, the full Zodiac.
No. 11. The Psychological Key to the Zodiac
"The first lesson taught in Esoteric philosophy is, that the incognizable Cause does not put forth evolution, whether consciously or unconsciously, but only exhibits periodically different aspects of itself to the perception of finite Minds." (S.D. II, 487) .
And it is said (S.D. I, 668), "The descent and reascent of the Monad or Soul cannot be disconnected from the Zodiacal signs."
The psychological keys to the Zodiac is the solution by means of the twelve members of inner Dependent Origination.
11. Aquarius - Ignorance.
12. Pisces - Dream.
1. Aries - Clear Sight and Blindness.
2. Taurus - Accumulation.
3. Gemini - Surface.
4. Cancer - Adaptation.
5. Leo - Suggestion.
6. Virgo - Desire.
7. Libra - Fulfillment.
8. Scorpio - Demonstration.
9. Sagittarius - Production.
10. Capricorn - Solitude.
It should not be construed that the captions are meant to characterize persons born under the respective signs.
It is suggested, rather, that they do have some special relevance to that birth period, without any further specification of the relation. While each can be considered a "generality," they are all distinct from one another.
We shall only illustrate the first listed of these - "ignorance." This does not imply that Aquarians are more ignorant than people born at other times. The action done with ignorance of the consequences; the action not done, because there is ignorance of any necessity for doing it - is the Aquarian action. The advice for Aquarians is given by The Voice of the Silence in the words, "Both action and inaction may find room in thee." The American President Franklin D. Roosevelt showed his greatness in the sign when he said, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself," confirming his role as a healer of society. Alike the smugness of confirmed ignorance, and the realization of ignorance by the one standing close to Knowledge - are psychological developments of Aquarius.
If you wish to know why the descent of the (human) Monad (rebirth in objective spheres) and reascent (rebirth in subjective spheres) take place exactly in harmony with the members of the Zodiac - a solar series, we must observe what is taught about the mind of man, often referred to by the Sanskrit word manas (and what we have previously called the inner man). The Secret Doctrine (II, 495) states, " `Manas is dual - lunar in the lower, solar in its upper portion,' says a commentary. That is to say, it is attracted in its upper aspect towards Buddhi [the "Spiritual Soul"], and in its lower descends into, and listens to the voice of its animal soul full of selfish and sensual desires; and herein is contained the mystery of an adept's as of a profane man's life, as also that of the postmortem separation of the divine from the animal man."
Thus, higher manas (a part of the human Monad), when it exhibits its pure solar nature at the two moments - birth and death - comes and goes in accordance with that nature, which is twelvefold, as symbolized in the Zodiac. In contrast, lower manas, being lunar, is associated with the 27 or 28 lunar signs.
No. 12. Comparative Religion and Philosophy.
The Proem to The Secret Doctrine is meant to provide an orientation to the whole system. One must admit, however, that even in that section the language is often abstruse. But anyone who has tried to express such concepts in his own words must profoundly admire the acclimatisation of the author in the rarified atmosphere on peaks of consciousness. We who try to follow, collapse not quite half way up. The sustained flight is possible only in the one who habitually turns to those lonely heights, and perhaps even he needs friendly guidance.
The ultimate principles of the Universe are not understood with ordinary consciousness - so the great seers and prophets have told us. But the religious geniuses have certainly brought forth different-looking answers. Did they just seem different, or were they really different? The Proem (S.D. I, 16) provides the solution in these words:
"The following summary will afford a clearer idea to the reader.
(1.) The ABSOLUTE; the Parabrahm of the Vedantins or the one Reality, SAT, which is, as Hegel says, both Absolute Being and Non-Being.
(2.) The first manifestation, the impersonal, and, in philosophy, unmanifested Logos, the precursor of the "manifested." This is the "First Cause," the "Unconscious" of European Pantheists.
(3.) Spirit-matter LIFE; the "Spirit of the Universe," the Purusha and Prakriti, or the second Logos.
(4.) Cosmic Ideation, MAHAT or Intelligence, the Universal World-Soul; the Cosmic Noumenon of Matter, the basis of the intelligent operations in and of Nature, also called MAHA-BUDDHI.
The ONE REALITY; its dual aspects in the conditioned Universe."
This wonderful outline enables one to locate the highest principle of the different systems in one or other of four possibilities. Once this is understood, the student can convert one system into another, or at least partially equate them.
Thus, the Parabrahm of the Vedantins, and the Void of the Void of the Madhyamikas, belong to (1.) "It is the omnipresent Reality: impersonal, because it contains all and everything. Its impersonality is the fundamental conception of the System." (S.D. 1, 273) .
In (2), the `unmanifested Logos', we place the cittamatra `pure consciousness' of the Yogacara school, and the Parama Shiva of the Shivaites. For the latter, in a remarkable work, Kashmir Shivaism by J.C. Chatterji (Srinagar, 1914), eve read (p. 53): "Now, the manifestation of such a Universe, when regarded from the Trika point of view, is and can be but an expression of the ideas, or, more correctly, the experience, of Parama Shiva, the highest Reality, who is nothing but Chaitanya ["consciousness"], pure and simple; and, as such, the process of Universal manifestation is, from this point of view, what may be called a process of experiencing out."
The Samkhya philosophy falls in (3.) because of its two irreducible principles - Purusha and Prakriti, or spirit and matter. The Samkhya was probably the most influential school in India two millenia ago. It is considered on good evidence that the Bhagavad Gita ("The Hindu Bible") was written by someone of that school, and became a part of the Mahabharata epic in the early centuries before the Christian era.
In (4.) belong the religions based on a personal god. This is the "Universal Mind" which responds to prayer, although not always with what is anticipated. The fact that the highest principle of dogmatic Christianity is three stages removed from the True Absolute will explain its philosophical superficiality.
Proceeding closer to earth, there is naturally a greater appeal to the masses. This is not said disparagingly. A universal system should satisfy the spiritual needs both of the "few" and of the "many". That system which tagged religion as "the opium of the people" merely sought to clear away the competitors to its own form of religion - desperately narrow and intolerant.
"The "Universal Mind", whether it be the mechanical dialectic, the image of man, or the cure-all of mental science, has ever been sensitively responsive, while having no preferences. However, the realm of occult power lies beyond it, or perhaps better stated: further within.
There being but One Truth, man requires but one church - The Temple of God within us, walled in by matter but penetrable by anyone who can find the way. The pure in heart see God.
- H.P. Blavatsky.
"I HEARD GREAT ARGUMENT... "
"But evermore came out from the same Door wherein I went."
That wise old Persian poet put the whole matter of humanity, its problems and faiths, into a nutshell in these words.
All my life I have been mixed up with people - and religion. Many were the creeds and classes that came and went in our house - for my Grandfather's business was God. Very sincerely, and reverently - but still God.
It seems that there is a vast brocade in the weaving, and we form the millions of threads that go to the completion of its perfect pattern. Of necessity, therefore, there must be plain, dark threads, and blue, and scarlet, gold and silver, grey and green.
For myself, I prefer to work in many colors. The deep blue of the spirit,gold of faith, warm rose that stands for love, and the brilliant and exhiliarating orange of reason and intellect. These colors - together with the pure silver thread of tolerance - the "Be kind one to the other" thread - are woven into this brocade. There are others, to each individual's particular creed, need, and choice, and the forming of the cloth. The dove grey of Quakers, the purple and scarlet of Greek orthodoxy and the Church of Rome; and the quieter blacks and whites of the Baptist and Protestant faiths; the warm colors of Judaism.
I have been in Hindu temples - in Mohammedan Mosques; in a Buddhist lamasery, and the Greek and Roman churches. And I have met and made friends with so many people, Chinese, Indian, American, English, and countless others. Through all these faiths - whatever the panoply and the ritual - runs the knowledge common to all. God is - and ever will be, whatever His name.
And it seems to me, as it seemed to my old grand-daddy, who could read the New Testament in Greek and the Old Testament in Hebrew, that it all boils down to this, quite simply. In order to keep the evenness and loveliness of the brocade - no thread must be broken or twisted; no snarls must be left uncombed, no hatreds left to fester, and no man considered the lesser, or the greater. All threads are necessary to the perfect weaving.
I could not count myself a Christian if I could not call the one next to me my friend, and understand his ways, as I would know he would understand mine. To me, God is a living, loving, laughing faith - but how to explain Him to a starving man, or an atheist, save only by immediately feeding and helping the one, and befriending and understanding, and loving, the other? To show love and tolerance, and thus keep away the breaks, and the snarls.
Whether we will, or not - the great fabric will still be woven in its entirety, and it depends on us as to whether it be weak, or strong; shabby and dull, or colorful and shining. It is for us to see that there is no tarnishing of this Fabric of Life.
- Leonora Parker.
"My doctrine is like the ocean, having the same eight wonderful qualities.
Both the ocean and my doctrine become gradually deeper.
Both preserve their identity under all changes.
Both cast out dead bodies upon the dry land.
As the great rivers, when falling into the main, lose their names and are thenceforth reckoned as the great ocean, so all the castes, having renounced their lineage and entered the Sangha, become brethren and are reckoned the sons of Sakyamuni.
The ocean is the goal of all streams and of the rain from the clouds, yet is it never overflowing and never emptied; so the Dharma is embraced by many millions of people, yet it neither increases nor decreases.
As the great ocean has only one taste, the taste of salt, so my doctrine has only one flavor, the flavour of emancipation.
Both the ocean and the Dharma are full of gems and pearls and jewels, and both afford a dwelling-place for mighty beings.
These are the eight wonderful qualities in which my doctrine resembles the ocean.
My doctrine is pure and it makes no discrimination between noble and ignoble, rich and poor.
My doctrine is like unto water which cleanses all without distinction.
My doctrine is like unto fire which consumes all things that exist between heaven and earth, great and small.
My doctrine is like unto the heavens, for there is room in it, ample room for the reception of all, for men and women, boys and girls, the powerful and the lowly."
- From The Gospel of Buddha, By Paul Carus.
ACTION AND REACTION
There is a difference between the mere intellectual understanding of action and the knowledge of that principle from experience. And it is difficult to achieve this knowledge if we are only partially interested in finding out. We can find out more quickly and easily if we are wholly interested.
Once our interest is sufficiently concentrated in finding out, we can begin to be aware of our thinking, feeling and motives in action and not merely intellectually in retrospect. Then we will see that we are, most of the time, reacting to our contacts; our thinking, which controls our actions, being determined from without and not from within. Practically all our emotions, laughter, tears, irritations, anger, indignation, etc., are the result of reactions. We like and dislike according to whether our contacts are harmonious with or contrary to our fundamental desires, wants and greeds.
It is a lot of trouble to get a physical body, and even under the most favorable circumstances it lasts but a small portion of the life cycle of one incarnation. What folly it is, then to drift aimlessly and thoughtlessly through life, reacting to environment and events, instead of guiding our lives purposely from within. If just once in a while we can catch ourselves in a reaction by being aware of it while it is happening, we can, in that one moment of comprehension, begin to learn to be aware always of our entire conscious hours, and thus discover how to live to the greatest possible advantage in the world of illusion, to be in it but not of it, and to live instead in the world of the REAL.
- Olive Brod.
Question B: Do you accept the doctrine of Reincarnation?
Answer: I might with equal truth answer either YES or NO to that question: everything depends upon how the term Reincarnation is understood. I do not accept that man is a spiritual entity of a permanent, unchanging nature, which periodically assumes a human body in order to have earth experiences, and periodically relinquishes it in order to assimilate the results of those experiences. The Law of Everbecoming makes it impossible that any such permanent Being should exist. Whatever reincarnates must, logically and philosophically, be fixed and unchanging in its own essential nature, and the sole,
fixed, changeless principle in man is his simple Consciousness of Being, namely the Free Self which he expresses when he uses the words "I AM." That Consciousness of Being is common to all mankind, and to all Self-Conscious Life. It identifies itself with, or reflects itself in, an endless procession of forms, or limitations of Universal BEING, or LIFE, and that identification is the only "reincarnation" that is or that can possibly be. Reincarnation is simply reidentification of the Universal CONSCIOUSNESS, which exhibits itself as Self in man, with successive phases of EVERBECOMING LIFE. Man has no permanent "Ego" peculiar to himself, but he has a permanent Ego which he shares with all Self-conscious Life. Study of the doctrine of Gautama Buddha, the most elevated Teacher to which our human race has given birth, will confirm what I say.
Question B (subsidiary): In the absence of any permanent Being, how is it possible to have any memory of past lives?
Answer: LIFE is infinite and eternal, and therefore no aspect of it can exist that has not pre-existed from no-beginning; and no aspect exists that will not continue to exist eternally. Man in his Becoming quits consciousness of one phase or aspect of LIFE for another, but that which is left is not destroyed, but continues to exist eternally, and may be again recovered, partially or wholly, by any Self capable of freeing itself from immediate limitations. Such recovery, or partial re-identification of "I" with past phases of Being, is always being done, and constitutes ordinary memory. Between it and memory of remote phases of Being, which we call past lives, there is no essential difference, other than that the latter demands that the Self be freed from present limitation much more completely.
The common, natural, and indeed inevitable error in endeavoring to understand these matters lies in thinking that it is the present Being of the man - the phase of Becoming with which the Self is momentarily identified - that has had those past experiences, whereas the truth is that they have been had, by a changeless SELF which is common to all men and to all higher Life.
Past phases re-embraced by the Consciousness, wholly or partially, become part of present Being, conditioning it as an instrument of experience, in one way or another.
KARMA, the doctrine which is invariably associated with that of Reincarnation, is also but another name for the Law of Everbecoming. Of all so-called "Laws," Karma, which teaches that whatever is arises from what was, and will give rise to that which is to be, is the most perfect means of instilling into ordinary human minds the reality of Everbecoming; and for this reason, no doubt, the Buddha, the Supreme Master, made it the centre of his whole system. Unfortunately, it is generally grossly misunderstood, and understanding concerning it has been inextricably confused by pronouncements upon it made by persons quite ignorant of its real nature.
New presentations of old "laws," such as these which I have outlined, are useful aids towards freeing the Self, but care must be taken not to allow them to lead you but from one trap into another. Realization that reincarnation, as commonly conceived, does not exist, may lead some into the error of thinking that man has no future life to consider. Man is LIFE manifest, and therefore exists eternally." - P.G. Bowen in The Occult Way.
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.