Vol. XXXVI, No. 3 Toronto, July-August, 1955 Price 35 Cents
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document
PLATO AND HIS TRANSLATOR
By Getrude M. Knapp
In our national gallery in Ottawa there is a fine portrait of Thomas Taylor, done by his contemporary Sir Thomas Lawrence. It was acquired in 1912 and is a faithful likeness of the greatest English scholar of the nineteenth century, a man who labored through forty years to give us in English translation, the Greek classics, especially Plato.
Plato was called that unreadable, incomprehensible, dry-as-dust philosopher! Did he write anything of importance to us of the twentieth century? Isn't he one of the has-beens of history? This most modern of moderns, Plato, pupil of Socrates and friend of Euclid the mathematician, was born in 427 B.C. in the very midst of a war that shook the Greek world to its foundations, as the last Great War has shaken ours. At its close, which left his native Athens, a London of its day, completely ruined, he went on a twelve-year tour of the civilized world. Compare this with the exodus of intellectuals from Europe after the Great Wars of our time. In Egypt, the ruling caste of priests taught him the art of government and something of their ancient traditions, notably the strange tale of the lost continent of Atlantis which they said had disappeared beneath the waves about 12,000 years before. In Sicily, his outspoken tongue, flaying the government there, got him sold into slavery. He was later redeemed by a friend. How like this was to the adventure of an eighteenth century philosopher, Voltaire, whose satirical tongue earned him expulsion from the realm of Frederick the Great of Prussia. In Judea, he absorbed some socialistic principles and in India, mysticism, so it is alleged. At any rate, he returned to Athens, aged forty, with his provincial corners all rubbed off, somewhat of a world citizen, and there he opened his famous Academy where he taught for forty years. The school itself endured! for nine hundred years.
His books, have miraculously all been preserved to us and surely for our edification. In his Republic, he draws up his plan for the model state and warns against the dangers that may beset it.
He sees the frailties of democracy and laughs at the folly of thinking that everyone who knows how to get votes understands also how to rule the country and that citizens can be made
good by legislation. Hear his words, - "As good as a play it is, to see men trying their hand at legislation and thinking thus to end the rascalities and dishonesties of mankind." He might have been talking of our prohibition legislation of the generation just past. He warned against wealthy tycoons who would use political influence - we call it lobbying - to increase their gains and pointed out clearly the disaster to a state when both military and political power are grasped by men of the Hitler and Mussolini type.
He said much about education. "Let early instruction be a sort of amusement. Knowledge acquired by compulsion has no hold on the mind." Any normal school graduate will recognize this teaching. He wished children to be shielded from ugliness in all its forms. What would he have thought and said about our crime comics, this man who would surround the young with grace and beauty, with the inspiration of music? Adult education was for all citizens. The more scholarly-inclined might, around the age of thirty, begin the study of philosophy with a view to becoming rulers of the state at fifty. "They learn, through thinking clearly, to act wisely," was his dictum. Statesmen should be at least as carefully trained as physicians.
A meteoric rise to power? Not in his republic! No man was to hold high office till apprenticed thoroughly through successful service in humbler posts. His elders, those mature and trained thinkers of middle age, the rulers, must be self-disciplined to renounce worldly goods, except what they shared in common; to show an almost monastic devotion to the state. Strong home ties were not for them.
"Plain living and high thinking" in Wordsworth's phrase, formed his pattern for health and longevity and he advocated a vegetarian diet. Our cocktail bars and night clubs would have been quite out of place in his ideal state.
Religion had a high place. Each citizen was exhorted to give honor and devotion to the Divine Author of All and thus raise himself and his republic to ever loftier heights.
In the reign of Henry VIII of England there sounded an echo of this teaching in a book, Utopia, patterned after the Republic, and written by another famous Thomas, Sir Thomas More. He also was a great scholar and, like Thomas Taylor, a true follower of Plato.
Thomas Taylor's industry produced sixty-odd volumes, thus earning for him the title of "The Platonist". The publication of his edition of Plato in 1804 is a quaint story. The eleventh Duke of Norfolk footed the bill but promptly locked up most of the volumes in a room in his house where they molded till 1848 when they were sold at public auction. And what collectors' items they must have been! Thomas Taylor had died in the interval so never saw his great life's work made available to English intellectual society. The eleventh Duke had broken with the traditions of his family to become a Protestant, and had earned a reputation both for conviviality and for a great aversion to soap and water, so his impounding of the edition of Plato, for which he had paid, was probably just another little eccentricity.
Should we now, after 2400 years, still read Plato? Let our present Governor-General answer for us. "Without a knowledge of, and a feeling for, the Past, we cannot build as we should, for the Present and the Future." Thomas Taylor, Plato's glad disciple, held this truth so dear that he labored his forty years on a poor pension of about $500 a year, granted him by a generous friend.
LITTLE MEN FROM MARS
By Cecil Williams
Strange things are seen in the skies these days, not the least astonishing of which are space ships piloted by little men from Mars - or even, one account has it, by big men with horns. Unfortunately, the testimony for space ships is unsupported by other valid evidence and, in these Mammon-worshipping times, none has come forward to claim the $100,000 offered by the Saturday Review to the first tittle man from Mars who sets foot in its editorial offices.
The student of The Secret Doctrine has reason to dismiss these accounts as fiction or hallucinations, for that work contains a statement by a Mahatma which makes the visits of little men from Mars highly improbable. The markings on Mars are not modern canals; no messages from Mars are being radioed to earth; no space ships from Mars are hovering in the stratosphere; no Martian army will invade the earth, for Mars is wrapped in the deep slumber of a planetary pralaya.* [* S.D., I, 165, original edition; I, 188, Besant edition.] It is as dead as the moon.
Moreover, the student of occultism realises that the difficulties of physical space travel are insuperable, and that mediumistic claims to have contacted men from Mars or any other planet have no more validity than other statements in trance, which are nearly always based on suggestion, given to the medium by himself or received from another. A medium is in a condition akin to hypnotic trance and we know that hypnotized persons will believe anything.
Yet there is too much evidence to admit of reasonable doubt that strange lights and forms have appeared in the heavens, and from the description of the most trustworthy witnesses it seems probable that flying saucers are phenomena akin to the electromagnetic northern lights and to fireballs. Their prevalence at this time is probably due to the earth's passing through the critical geological period which is producing worldwide aberrations in weather and will in time affect all nations much more seriously. We are entering the Aquarian Age.
The authority of The Secret Doctrine and the Mahatmas may be questioned, and this doubt is quite legitimate. Neither the Mahatmas nor their teachings are infallible. But there is a great difference between the credibility that may be attached to the unsupported statements of inexperienced observers, who moreover may be hoaxers, and the testimony of men who have made numerous statements based on occult science which have been afterwards confirmed by profane science. I have examined some of the evidence for the existence of Mahatmas and it is as clear and as unequivocal as that for the existence of the evolutionist, Charles Darwin. He, like the Mahatmas, wrote books, kept himself as much of a recluse as possible and promulgated his ideas through letters. The circumstances are different, those surrounding the Mahatmas being strange; that is all.
This does not mean that, because it says so in The Secret Doctrine, I believe absolutely that there is no active life on Mars. I do not know this personally. What I do know is that it is so stated; that the postulates of The Secret Doctrine are true and demonstrable, and that it is extremely improbable that the promulgators of this truth would knowingly make false statements or err in this matter. I therefore accept it tentatively as I would the statement of an
astronomer about the orbit of Mars which I am in no position to check for myself.
There is a universal verity which in my book, The Foundations of Intelligence, I call polarity. It appears in the mind as one of the "dimensions" of sane thinking. This is the truth that things have qualities that run along a scale. In questions of fact and observation it may be graduated thus:
I put the Mahatma's statement about Mars on the level of highly probable and the statement about space ships on the level of highly improbable, until I have sufficient evidence to move them up or down the scale.
It will be seen therefore that I do not make an absolute statement, and thus avoid blind belief. When what I call four-dimensional logic gains currency, children in kindergarten will be given exercises in the dimension of polarity and the true or false tests in later classes will be amplified. In coming generations this will make for greater tolerance and sanity which is one of the reasons why the coming Aquarian Age will be a happier one.
It is instructive to examine the reasons why people believe positively in such things as flying saucer space ships when there are other more valid explanations and the evidence for space ships is negligible. One of these influences is that man is naturally a reasoner but that he does not know consciously the principles that guide rational thought. He is not self-conscious of the fact that he thinks in four dimensions.
The force of logic is so strong in him that he must identify things and he must attribute some cause to events. He therefore, as we say, jumps - jumps through polarity - to conclusions. He seizes upon that which, through ignorance or habitual association of ideas, comes to mind first. He is like the native of Africa in the early days of the gramophone who hears the first record played on an explorers' machine. The native mind, seeking a cause and ignorant of science, identifies the cause of a voice as a man. The explorer keeps a little man in the box.
The less credulous of moderns, subconsciously aware of the polarity of knowledge, identified ,the strange atmospheric phenomena as "flying saucers," that is, circular objects moving swiftly in the air, suspending judgment as to their true identity and cause. Others, brought up on Buck Rogers and scientific fiction, forgot the idea of "fiction" and eagerly embraced the thought that flying saucers are vehicles from other planets. But if they had been trained in scientific thought they would have put the idea of space ships in one of the probable degrees of the scale running from true to false, until they had more convincing evidence. They would also have realized that not all observers are reliable and that such men as hoaxers exist.
Another factor making for credulity is emotion. We tend to believe without sufficient evidence because we have a natural impulse to wonder. The world is occult, full of mystery, but certain minds see the marvellous only in the unusual. There is infinitely more marvel in the birth of a baby than in the simultaneous appearance of five. But this is so unusual that people sense in it a magic that is really everywhere. There must be something about the place called Callander, it is erroneously thought, that no other spot on earth possesses.
The bright idea comes, "Why not take a fragment of Callander home?" So pebbles from a Canadian village are carried to the ends of the earth.
In this impulse, there is, of course, also desire, the desire to conceive a child. It is desire for affirmation of our hopes that sends us to the fortune teller or the medium, as it is desire to know what lies behind the veil of nature that lures us into the coils of a pretender to occult lore. The belief in little men from Mars would be far more general than it is if it appealed to a universal desire.
It is a truth insufficiently perceived that man from the hour of his birth has to fight against the power of suggestion. It impinges on him not only from mother and nurse but from every contact, for everything he touches, tastes, hears, smells and sees, has an external cause which beats upon his senses. From Things we learn to avoid and to seek, to avoid that which gives pain, to seek that which gives pleasure, but the suggestions they give us are often specious.
The suggestions of parents and playmates and teachers merge into those of the vendors of ideas on television, the screen and in the newspapers. Suggestion has become a profession, with numerous branches, the latest being packaging, designed to subvert the judgment of the individual. Suggestion creeps into man's own constitution, in habits he cannot easily change and in complexes or engrams that cause him to act unconsciously, or as, he may later ruefully say, "without thinking."
Against these forces man has to oppose his wits, his insight and discriminating intelligence, thus developing that innate self-reliance, that true security, which is the reflection in him of the SELF that is above all selves. He must be open minded yet learn scepticism. He must cling to doubt, not as an end but as a means, a way to disentangle himself from irrational belief and to rest confident in reasoned faith.
Credultity never achieved anything truly constructive but it has been the cause of much suffering. To the credulous the Path is barred. Like the scientist and the researcher, the Mahatma has to check his facts again and again, though he does so more on the psychological than the physical plane.
For the Theosophist, Buddha has wise advice: "Believe nothing taught by a sage, written in a book, handed down by tradition or supposedly proven by analogy, unless supported by human experience." Those who believe without adequate reason deny their SELFhood and submit to forces which, instead of being their masters, should be their slaves.
Fewer reports of `flying saucers' are being received these days, but apparently this is still a subject of deep interest to many. Perhaps Mr. Williams in a later article will give us some of the `other more valid explanations' of the puzzling phenomena. - Editor.
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.
POINT LOMA RETROSPECT
By Iverson L. Harris
(Reflections after reading Dr. Emmett A. Greenwalt's Book, The Point Loma Community in California, 1897-1942.)
My forty-three years at Point Loma (from 1899 to 1942) in my consciousness are divided into two distinct periods dominated respectively by the influence, guidance and leadership of two distinguished Theosophists, - Katherine Tingley and G. de Purucker. These two Leaders of the Point Loma Society were as unlike one another as two idealists and teachers could possibly be - as different in their own epochs as were H.P.B. and W.Q.J. in theirs. In their methods, personalities and approaches to Theosophy, they were poles apart; but inwardly it was a difference of emphasis and outlook - not a difference in loyalty and adherence to the basic principles of the Wisdom-Religion, as taught by the Masters and H.P.B.
Katherine Tingley's career was dedicated to an all-out effort to make Theosophy a living power in the lives of all who came within her sphere of influence, and the Point Loma Headquarters was an alembic in which a 20th Century alchemist strove constantly to trans-mute the baser elements of human nature into the pure gold of discipleship - into the Philosopher's Stone of impersonality, the Elixir of spiritual living, which was joyous and consecrated. Hence her constant emphasis on the ethics of Theosophy. At Point Loma we learned basic Theosophical truths and strove to incorporate them in every act of daily life. One was that which H.P.B. transmitted to her students from a letter she received from one of the Great Teachers:
"Behold the Truth before you: a clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual perception, a brotherliness for one's codisciple, a readiness to give and receive advice and instruction, a loyal sense of duty to the Teacher, a willing obedience to the behests of TRUTH, once we have placed our confidence in, and believe that Teacher to be in possession of it; a courageous endurance of personal injustice, a brave declaration of principles, a valiant defence of those who are unjustly attacked, and a constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection which the Secret Science (Gupta Vidya) depicts - these are the golden stairs, up the steps of which the learner may climb to the Temple of Divine Wisdom."
Another fundamental Theosophic truth was contained in the injunction of William Q. Judge, which we chose as the motto of the young men's club named after him: "What then is the royal talisman, - the panacea, finally? It is duty, selflessness."
A third, which every Raja-Yoga student learned by heart and repeated daily, was Katherine Tingley's own precept: "Do well the smallest duty; and when the day is done, there will be no regrets, no time wasted. Then joy will come."
It was in the endeavor to fashion our lives on the principles set forth in the above-quoted words of our Teachers, that we strove to become at one with the Spirit of Lomaland. To have striven for some four decades to help to make the ideal become the actual made this present incarnation worthwhile to me. My heart responds fully to the feelings
of a former Cuban classmate, who wrote me after reading Dr. Greenwalt's book, that he and his wife and other Raja-Yoga alumni in Santiago often 'spend hours talking about the wonderful days of that paradise which was Lomaland.' Not a few well-known journalists in the United States appreciated Katherine Tingley's efforts and wrote with enthusiasm about her. Ray Stannard Baker in The American Magazine referred to virility, life, as being her most noticeable characteristic. "The brilliant and remarkable achievements of one of the most gifted and distinguished daughters of New England" was Lilian Whiting's description of Katherine Tingley's career. Writing in The Boston Herald, Gertrude Stevenson said that she was above all things sincere. John Hubert Greusel in The Detroit Free Press spoke of `her sovereign ease in large affairs,' and said that she seemed to combine in herself `the constructive imagination of Catherine of Russia' with `the idealism of a modernized Joan of Arc.' Joseph Grady, writing in The Denver Post, spoke of her cosmopolitan culture, and chose the adjective `protean' as best describing her. Katherine Tingley's name wilt, of course, be associated for all time with what the brilliant editorial writer for The San Diego Union and The Evening Tribune, `Yorick' (E.H. Clough), called "that wonderful institution over there on Point Loma, compact of art, beauty, erudition, and the humanity that classifies mankind not in the categories of the merely material, but upon the broad basis of a spiritual force and law, of which the material is only one incomplete manifestation."
All these expressions concerning Katherine Tingley emanated from high-minded, thoughtful people, who sensed the greatness of her character and sought to render honor where honor was due. But they were not deep students of Theosophy, and therefore hardly in a position to write about her as a Theosophist. The present writer can claim some advantage in having been brought up from childhood in her Raja-Yoga School and College, in having served her daily for years in the intimate relationship of amanuensis, and in having travelled with her as private secretary over many parts of this country, Canada, Cuba and Europe. It is as a teacher of Theosophy that this brief sketch aims to portray her.
With Katherine Tingley, the fundamental teachings of Theosophy were not only intellectual studies concerning the great problems of life, death, and immortality, not solely invaluable aids in meeting the trials and difficulties of mundane esixtence; they were all these and more besides. They were the daily path, with its myriad ramifications, upon which she found numberless ways to serve, to cheer, to chasten or to inspire those whom Karman had brought within the sphere of her influence. These ranged from the youngest children in her school to men and women of international repute.
To illustrate: so axiomatic with Katherine Tingley was the doctrine of the divinity and the perfectibility of man, that she regarded as failures only those who ceased their efforts towards this goal, as successful only those who ever strove therefor. Thus she aided those who loyally accepted her guidance to taste that peace which passeth understanding, at the same time keeping alive within them that divine dissatisfaction with things as they are - not as they are on account of other people's doings, but as they are within ourselves, with our own imperfections and, undeveloped potentialities for good. She was in the truest sense an educator - one who drew out the very best in her students and kept ever before them the vista of infinite spiritual growth.
She started out with the common sense basis of a proper physical development - correct habits, right living, good food, fresh air, proper exercise. She did not believe in torturing the flesh - still less in indulging it; but she did insist upon the necessity of a strong, healthy body as a fitting temple of the spirit, a well-tuned instrument for the soul's use. Even Paderewski could not make divine music on a dilapidated piano. Neither can a human soul perform its highest mission in this world in a broken-down house of flesh.
Theosophy, according to Katherine Tingley, had to be applied to every department of life, and Raja-Yoga, she declared, was Theosophy applied to the education of the young. This did not mean, however, that in the Raja-Yoga School the children's minds were burdened wth any specific religious doctrines; but they were brought up on the fundamental ethical teachings of Theosophy, and were taught to be clean in mind and body, to be unselfish, kindly, and obedient to properly constituted authority. Their tastes were directed along wholesome, serviceable channels. With these fundamentals, when they arrived at an age of discretion, their minds were open to the truth. A knowledge of different languages, which they began to acquire in their childlhood, had inbred in them a cosmopolitan culture and interest in international history; their acquaintance with the master-minds, in the realms of literature, music, art, philosophy and the drama, had given them high standards; and their association with Katherine Tingley herself as teacher, friend and guide had inspired their lives and had imbued them with that deep sense of duty to humanity upon which all true morality must rest. It was well expressed in her injunction to them: "As ye go forth into the world, seek to render noble service to all that lives."
Dr. Greenwalt's chapter on `Music, Dance and Drama' will bring back to Point Loma students some of the happiest and most satisfying memories of the years spent there, of the commendations of our performances by such distinguished musicians as Walter Damrosch, Nellie Melba, Percy Grainger, Alfred Hertz and Daniel de Lange, and over the enthusiastic reviews of the Greek and Shakespearean dramas by `Yorick' and other competent non-resident critics. Rex Dunn's exquisite songs written for `A Midsummer Night's Dream' and `As You Like It', his delightful musical setting of Kenneth Morris's `Bruce and the Brownies,' and `Songs of the Nations', and to the `Peace-Pipe' from Longfellow's `Hiawatha', will surely some day win wide recognition when they become known. The musical and dramatic work at Point Loma was a remarkable illustration of the esprit-de-corps evoked by Katherine Tingley and her competent staff of volunteer helpers. It demonstrates how people of modest individual talents, when inspired by high ideals and adequately led, could produce very creditable results. Point Loma's pioneer educational. work on these lines was outstanding.
The chapter on `Literature and Philosophy' pays deserved tribute to Kenneth Morris, the Welsh Poet of Lomaland. Though it must be resisted, the temptation is great to enlarge upon the pages devoted to Morris's writings. I am one who owes him, not only poet, but Professor of Literature and History, a life-long debt of gratitude for his inspiring teaching. Especially grateful to him am I for an entirely new appreciation of the great epochs of Far Eastern history and of the Saracens. His historical lectures written in the light of Theosophy are fortunately preserved in two series published in The Theosophical Path, entitled respectiveliy Golden Threads in
the Tapestry of History and The Crest-Wave of Evolution.
Professor Greenwalt has appreciative comments about several, but by no means all, the Point Loma artists. Reginald Machell, duly recognized, was one of H.P.B.'s, personal pupils in England, whose mystical paintings and carved furniture are creations to evoke admiration anywhere. Those of us who knew Mr. Machell intimately for many years, will always cherish his memory as a high-minded, lovable English gentleman as well as an outstanding artist. Edith White's beautiful flower-paintings adorned many of the private salons and public rooms at Point Loma, while Maurice Braun's landscapes - radiant with warm California sunshine and `smogless' skies - were known and sought throughout the United States.
After a bad automobile accident near Osnabruck, Germany, in May, 1929, Katherine Tingley was taken to the Society's estate, on the beautiful Island of Visingo, Lake Vettern, Sweden, where she died on July 11th. In October 1929, came the financial crash which brought the harrowing depression of the 30's. Dr. de Purucker took over the leadership of the Point Loma Society. The membership solidly, enthusiastically and, almost unanimously supported him. But the headquarters itself was financially bankrupt, through no fault of his. He instituted heroic austerities and economies, in which he himself set the example. Through Herculean efforts he managed to salvage the main buildings at Point Loma and forty acres of land. Scarcely had this been achieved, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. The headquarters became a military target - one of the places most exposed to enemy attack in the whole of the U.S.A., with numerous military and naval bases surrounding San Diego Harbor and on Point Loma, including emergency gun-emplacements on the Headquarters estate itself. It was then that G. de P., after lengthy heart-searching consultations with his Cabinet and various committees, decided to find a safer and more compact Headquarters elsewhere, with more modern buildings. After months of search all over California his agents discovered the California Preparatory School for Boys at Covina, which he was able to purchase at something of a bargain. G. de P. and his staff moved to the new Headquarters in June, 1942. I remained at Point Loma long enough to dispose of the portion of the Point Loma property not already sold to satisfy bondholders. As Dr. de Purucker's Financial Agent and later, by his appointment, Chairman of the Cabinet, it was my privilege to help him to obtain the cooperation of creditors other than bondholders in compromising their unsecured claims. Before G. de P. died on September 27, 1942, the new Headquarters at Covina was economically secure. Shortly thereafter, under the Cabinet's administration, it was made free and clear of all encumbrances. This successful financial salvaging was made possible by the generous help of devoted members at Headquarters and in different parts of the world, some by way of cash-contributions and others by the cancellation of obligations owing them by the Society or by K.T. The late Howard Throckmorton of Los Angeles was of invaluable help in settling with the bond-holders.
Let it here be stated, that G. de P., though essentially a man of letters and a teacher, assumed the financial burdens, inherited from his predecessor, frightfully augmented by the nationwide depression, and carried them to a brilliant and successful conclusion - not because he was by training a businessman, which he certainly was not, but because he was a consecrated Theosophi- (Continued on Page 88)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I am happy to report that the membership total shows a very encouraging increase this year. Last year the total was 354; this year it is 382. There were 27 new members and 19 members joined the Canadian Society on demit; 20 former members were reinstated. 25 members failed to pay their dues for 1955 and were transferred to the inactive list - had these been paid up the total would have been well over 400.
It is with the deepest regret I announce the demise of the President of the Calgary Lodge, Mr. E.H. Lloyd Knechtel who passed away on April 29 in his 79th year. He joined the Society in 1920 and was elected president in the same year and held that post until his death. He was a staunch theosophist, and upheld the best Blavatsky tradition; it was mainly through his efforts that Theosophy was kept alive in Calgary for the thirty-five years he was domiciled there. He was very keen on Astrology and was interested in many activities in the community. He is survived by a sister, Mrs. C.J. McGahey of Toronto to whom we extend our deepest sympathy.
The Montreal Lodge celebrated the 50th year of its inauguration on May 17 and I went there to be present on the historic occasion. As a full report appears in this issue by the President, Mrs. Mavis Harley, I will not dilate on the subject except to remark that I was delighted at the vitality and enthusiasm displayed by everybody, which promises well for the future prospects of that Theosophical centre.
For general information I would like to mention that it was the interest and energy displayed by the Winnipeg Lodge in Anti-Vivisection that was mainly responsible for putting Theosophy on the map in that city. Through it several new members joined the Society. Personally I am never tired of telling members that interest in social matters outside the lodge is one of the essentials in bringing our philosophy before the public. It was therefore with a certain feeling of disappointment I noted the very feeble response to my appeal in the March-April issue to Animal Lovers to send in their names and addresses of those interested in animal welfare generally in order to keep them notified of what was being done in this direction. Only five answered, outside the Winnipeg Lodge which responded to a man.
If anybody is interested in reading Theosophical magazines printed in foreign languages, European and South American, please drop me a line and I will be glad to forward these.
The report of my trip to the West Coast last September has been commented on in other Theosophical magazines. The Theosophist, April 1955, says, "The General Secretary of the Canadian Section, Lt. Col. E. L. Thomson, gives an interesting account in The Canadian Theosophist for November 1954, of his eight day visit by air to the Lodges in the western area, the first since he came to office ten years ago. He left Toronto on September 23rd, making his first atop at Winnipeg, where the Wayfarers Lodge of the Canadian Federation met him and arranged a special meeting in his honor. He visited Calgary and Edmonton, where he spoke at meetings attended by members of both the Section and Federation. In Vancouver, where he gave talks to members and a public lecture, he was able to make his first personal contact with some members of the Section
Executive. His account makes us keenly aware of the value of personal contact in our work."
And from The Theosophical Review, April 1955, published in India, "The General Secretary's tour in Western Canada, appears to have made a great impression on the members in the areas visited and also on the General Secretary, Col. Thomson, himself. The members of the Canadian Federation (attached directly to Adyar and, not forminig part of the Canadian Section) also attended his lectures and there was a good deal of fraternization. It became apparent how slight were the differences that kept the two groups apart. Greater contact between the General Secretary and the members and lodges, and between the Canadian Section members and the Federation members, is likely to lead to the intensification of Theosophical life and activity in Canada."
Dr. Hugh Shearman (Fed. Northern Ireland) writes me, "I read with much interest your account in The Canadian Theosophist of your tour of the western lodges. The distances make everything curiously different from the conditions I know in the British Isles, where I have visited over sixty lodges in the course of the last few years." And though it is not relevant the following observation of his is of general interest, "It has always been my feeling that in joining the T.S. one joins its whole past, its follies as well as its wisdom. They all make up the historic whole of this living nucleus. Not every item in our past literature is my own personal "cup of tea", but they all "belong", even though they may be in conflict with one another. They are the achievement of this particular nucleus or family, for well or ill. I don't feel that we have to shield people from particular books or expostulate with particular events in our own past. So I like our studies and lectures and so on to be fairly catholic. Perhaps this is only the recklessness of one who is still just on the juvenile side of forty; but I think that it is the attitude of my generation in the T.S." And he goes on to say that "We continue to receiver gratefully the copies of The Canadian Theosophist that are sent to us. Of the journals that appear on our magazine stand, I think it is one of the most read." It is good to know that our magazine is so much appreciated. As to Dr. Shearman's above observations, all I can say is that I thoroughly agree with everything he says, and I think it is the attitude of most of the older generation also.
To strike a more personal note, here is an extract from the South African T.S. Magazine The Link, taken from an article "Impressions of Olcott" written by Elizabeth C.M. du Toit. "On the turn of the stairs, I was struck by several pictures hanging on the walls. One that really impressed me - I happen to be a clinical psychologist interested mainly in the world of dream, fantasy, mythology, fairy tale and all inner exploration of the human psyche - was painted by the President of the Canadian Section, depicting a stream of humanity, small and dark and toiling, crawling at the bottom of a deep dark blue gorge, with the light striking the top of the gorge far away in the distance. This painting impressed me not so much by its artistic merit (which is irrelevant here) as by its theme, which is stated to be that of Life struggling within the limitations of matter towards spiritual light and freedom". I might add that this was the painting that I presented to the American Section, at a convention I attended some years ago.
My request for further copies of No. 8, October 1953 of our magazine has
now been fully met, and I wish to thank most heartily those who have been so kind as to send me their copies in order that a certain number of our volumes may be bound.
It is with much pleasure that I welcome the following members into the Society: - Mrs. Octavia Snyder, Miss Lily Jones, Mrs. Florence A. Hollaman, Mr. Gordon F. Gardiner and Mr. Leslie G. Dawson, all of Toronto Lodge; Mrs. Leila M. Stone, Mrs. Agnes Bell, Mrs. Martha M. Bowers, Mrs. Dora E. Davies and Mr. T. Lorimer Bowers, all of Winnipeg Lodge.
- E. L. T.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published bi-monthly
- Authorized as second class mail, Post Office Department, Ottawa.
- Subscription: Two Dollars a Year
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
Dudley W. Barr, 18 Rowanwood Ave., Toronto, Ont.
Charles E. Bunting, 75 Rosedale Ave., Hamilton, Ont.
Charles M. Hale, 26 Albion Ave., Toronto,Ont.
Miss M. Hindsley, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
George I. Kinman, 262 Sheldrake Blvd., Toronto 12, Ont.
Washington E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C.
Emory P. Wood, 9360 86th St., 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
Following a most delightful visit from our General Secretary, Lt.-Col. E. L. Thomson, D.S.O., our members settled down to plan a program of Theosophical service. In line with the thoughts of our International President, Mr. N. Sri Ram, as expressed in the Adyar Theosophist, we agreed that since the City of Winnipeg was currently fighting against vivisection, we, as a Society, should add our voice to this protest and be heard.
Therefore, a delegation, headed by Mrs. Bowers, appeared before the City Council. Tremendous publicity ensued, and Winnipeg Lodge held public meetings, at which the Objects of the Theosophical Society were well defined, and Mr. N. Sri Ram's article was quoted, as well as the excellent article which appeared at a later date entitled "Animal Rights", from The Animal World of Albert Schweitzer. Additional public meetings were held, in which Reincarnation was explained, and round table discussion ensued. Sufficient interest was evoked, to bring in a number of serious people to study with us.
We have had almost daily publicity, which now is gradually subsiding, but is still front page. From this has resulted a great deal of interest, in which the Mayor of our city asked for literature. This was duly supplied.
By mid-June, another public meeting is scheduled, and we hope to attract about 200 people or more.
Winnipeg Lodge now has a telephone listing, which is something the Theosophical Society never had before in this City, and we are now news, with both City newspapers, who are now only too glad to have anything submitted to them by us. Heretofore, they refused to take copy from the Theosophical Society, or even to accept paid advertising, now we are most welcome, and are received
[[The following table cannot be reproduced in its entirety.]]
The Theosophical Society in Canada Annual Elections, 1955
TOTAL VOTE - 235.
MEMBERS TO BE ELECTED - 7
QUOTA - 30
NAME OF CANDIDATE:
- DUDLEY W. BARB .......103
- CHARLES E. BUNTING ......... 35
- CHARLES M. HALE .......6
- MISS M. HINDSLEY .......... 22
- GEORGE I. KINMAN ....... 26
- PETER SINCLAIR ......... 6
- WASHINGTON E. WILKS ......... 26
- EMORY P. WOOD ............11
TOTALS ...... 235
The ballots in the election of the General Executive were counted on Tuesday evening, June 7 under the supervision of Colonel E. L. Thomson. The scrutineers were Mr. John W. Gaunt, Mr. Erroll E. Lovis, Mr. Samuel Sniderman and Mr. Willard A. Stewart. The vote was light, one third of the members failing to send in their ballots. There were 235 votes counted and, the quota, under the proportional representation system was 30. The No. 1 votes were Barr 103, Bunting 35, Kinman 26, Wilks 26, Hindsley 22, Wood 11, Hale 6, Sinclair 6. Barr and Bunting were elected on the first count. Barr's surplus of 73 votes was distributed on the second count, electing Hindsley, Kinman and Wilks. The third, fourth and fifth counts distributed the other small surpluses thus electing the new Executive as follows: Dudley W. Barr, Charles E. Bunting, Charles M. Hale, Miss M. Hindsley, George I. Kinman, Washington E. Wilks, Emory P. Wood.
The General Secretary, Col. E. L. Thomson was elected by acclamation.
with dignity, as a cultural society in the City of Winnipeg.
So far, we have received three new members, during the past month, and are hoping more will join in the near future; but this must come from a desire within themselves, rather than through any pressure or outward sign from our members.
Our studies are on The Secret Doctrine (mid-week classes,); and Sundays are devoted to kindred subjects. Our speakers for June will be: Mrs. Blanche Osborne, Mr. R. Heynneman, Mr. Percy Stokes and Mr. Henry Gadd. Our gratitude to Mrs. Osborne and Mr. Stokes for their help and encouragement in our recent work.
Mrs. Bowers deserves a special vote of thanks for her untiring efforts in this tremendous work. Tape recordings of a most interesting nature have been made of public lectures. Radio and television work is now open and welcome, but during the summer months this will be held in abeyance. Members of the
Anti-Vivisection Council are also interested now in Theosophy, and we shall distribute literature shortly. All of this happy, exciting and thrilling news is happening to your Winnipeg Lodge.
Fraternal greetings to our sister lodges.
- L. T. BOWERS, Secretary.
May 17th was an auspicious day for the Montreal Lodge, we had reached our 50th year of growth.
Reading through the minutes of past years one realizes how essential it is to have an active and progressive membership - not only for the Lodge's expansion, but for its very survival. At one period the Lodge would have closed but for the generous assistance of a few members.
Therefore we were happy to have been present to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Montreal Lodge, and to have as the guest of honor our General Secretary, Lt.-Col. Thomson. He dined with several of the members at the Laurentian Hotel, finishing by giving a toast to the continued success and development of our Lodge.
We afterwards adjourned to the Lodge Room where the rest of the members were assembled.
After an opening address by the President, Miss Jean Low read an account of the early days of the Lodge history, which proved of great interest. Then we were privileged to hear Lt. Col. Thomson speak on his recent Western
STATEMENT OF FUNDS
YEAR ENDING JUNE 30th 1955
Balance from last year ......... $715.72
Lodge Fees and Dues:
1956 .......... 135.00
Magazine Subscriptions ......... 241.00
Magazine Donations ......... 120.50
General Donations .........1601.20
West End Lodge,
Balance of a/c ............ 20.30
Vietnam Fund ............. 45.00
Refund ...................... 10.00
Bank Interest ...............18.52
Total ............................ $3857.64
Adyar, per capita ......$90.38
Printing ......... $1150.00
Postage ......... 70.32
Envelopes .......... 106.16
Postage ................... 31.08
Stationery ......... 27.60
Office ......... 11.85
Stencils .......... 11.87
Fire Insurance ........ 8.85
Cables, etc. ........ 9.47
Extras ............ 12.17
Gen. See. Trav. Exp.:
Wheaton (1954) ....... 50.00
Winnipeg ........ 150.00
Montreal ........ 40.00
Vietnam Fund ........ 45.00
Election Expenses ......... 50.10
Don. Adyar Library ........ 9.95
Bank Cg. and Discount .......5.95
Cash in Bank ...........1947.64
- E.L. Thomson, General Secretary,
Theosophical Society in Canada.
tour of Lodges in the Canadian Section, and of the need for everyone not only to do their bit in the Lodge itself, but to give support to other worthy causes in the community.
Also ways and means of spreading Theosophy were discussed, relating to the recent generous donation of money for this purpose.
Being an artist himself, Lt.-Col. Thomson is very keen on promoting this aspect of creative work in the Theosophical Society.
After his eloquent discourse, the meeting was brought to a close, and we finished in a social vein. Mrs. and Miss Tolson and Mrs. Roth generously supplied refreshments and dispensed tea to all, while Mrs. Sora kindly donated a beautiful, iced Anniversary Cake surmounted by candles, which were blown out with gusto by our guest of honor.
After further pleasant conversation, we bid farewell to our guest, who was then driven to the train by a member, and we all dispersed.
May we again tender thanks to our General Secretary for the `personal touch', and press on with even greater strength to the coming years.
- Mavis W. Harley, President.
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist.
Since Mr. Wayman has "nothing to offer the Theosophical Society", the problem of how to contribute to improving its serviceability in theosophical work remains with those of us who are members of it. It is the largest body in the world under the Theosophical banner, and as such its destiny is not to be lightly dismissed. "Theosophy or Neo-Theosophy" by Margaret Thomas was an unkind work and was published a long time ago. Its data can well be drawn on in kindlier fashion, but much has happened since then. The diminution in the reading of C.W. Leadbeater's works is appreciable, I believe. It is the causative influence of Mr. Wayman's disgust as affecting that development which I referred to as negligible; but I quite agree with him that the future of Theosophy is in the hands of individuals, who are in lively touch with the world of today, and who can well salute and collaborate with one another, unlimited by any institutional affiliations.
T. H. Redfern.
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist.
Dear Bro. Barr:
Reference is made to a letter from Alex Wayman printed in the February 15 issue. The heart of Mr. Wayman's proposition is his rejection of neotheosophy, whose books he would burn, and his implied proposal that so-called pure theosophy should replace it. The value of his viewpoint will depend upon how well it can be identified with the Objects of the T.S.
The First Object is to promote an active brotherhood among all men. The Second is to study and compare all religions and philosophies. This obviously supports the First Object because the similarities which are to be found tend to lessen conflicts among different faiths. The Third Object, a unique one, is to investigate the powers latent in man. The pursuit of this Object might conceivably undercut the mechanism of today by methods acceptable to science itself.
Now no reasonable authority has ever affirmed that believers in this or that faith are not to be admitted to member-
ship in our brotherhood. On the religious or philosophical level no distinction is to be made whatsoever. This in itself lessens the importance of dividing the members into pure-theosophists and not-pure-theosophists because membership is open to all people without distinction of creed or faith. There is no degree or measure of acceptability to be applied when an individual seeks membership except his sympathy with the Objects.
Mr. Wayman's views about pure theosophy are shared by a number of members. Briefly their position rests upon the assertion that certain theosophical books are canonical and others apocryphal - "pure" and not-"pure" theosophy. Basically this argument is on the perimeter of things and is given an emphasis, which tends to produce intolerance and lead away from brotherhood. The founders did not formulate a creed to be known as Theosophy. Acceptance of their books and the ideas they contained was not a prerequisite to membership. No; they invited men of widely differing views to join the T.S. and form a union of diverse religious beliefs. The monotheist's tolerance of the polytheist's belief is the very essence of the brotherhood and love which should cement all members together. Each reitains the rituals, creed and ethics of his religion but subscribes also to a wider loyalty which circumscribes all, just as a United Nations is a supranational entity containing many diverse elements and ideas. The catholic view is ever to be emphasized, not the provincial or dogmatic. There is no theosophical catechism. There is no "Index Librorum Prohilbitorum" in the Theosophical Movement, nor can there ever be. It would undercut the very freedom of thought which theosophists value and which H.P.B. exemplified when she welcomed articles in her magazine which sometimes differed from her own views, merely because they might contain a single good idea. After all, a book merely represents the thought of one member and is read with respect for any good it may contain. No one is bound by its ideas, even if they are written by those who are recognized by all as theosophical authorities.
The opponents of not-pure theosophy include in that term all ideas which they claim are in conflict with the revelation given by the White Lodge through H.P.B. But membership is not dependent upon belief in this revelation. Therefore, in view of the breadth of platform which bottoms the Movement, is it really rational for us to tell any librarian that this book is canonical and that is apocryphal?
Do you not believe that the White Lodge would now favor a policy of rediscovering our similarities, which in themselves are sufficient to reunite all groups? Is it not better to energize this activity rather than the controversial? A growing number of theosophists believe that the Masters would now like to see a complete rapprochement between all theosophists, resulting in a return to the theosophical unity which H.P.B. begged us to preserve. After reunity is achieved, the theosophical edifice can readily be made into a fit habitation for all. Perhaps at that time we can expect new revelation from which we will derive a maturity which will enable us to leave our old animosities behind as being unworthy, just as children, on growing up, abandon the lesser for the greater objectives.
Mr. Wayman refers to the possibility of the T.S. having entered its old age recently. Others incline to a different view, believing instead that the activity of the Society is cyclical and that we are just emerging from a dip, with a great future ahead.
There appears to be a certain inconsistency in the reference to Bro. Red-
fern's "solution for a grievous problem" and the closing words: "Why worry about the outer groups? They have always been united in folly." In the one case it is conceded that a problem exists and in the other it is dismissed as unworthy of consideration. A wag once remarked that all generalizations are wrong including this one. The last sentence is a generalization. Had the word `sometimes' been used instead of `always' there might be no great objection, as all of us make mistakes. Even the Masters do not claim infallibility. It is doubtful if the writer really intended to condemn an entire group of noble people with whom he has so much in common. They are, much to their credit, united in their support of Brotherhood. This is the supreme value which they espouse and which gives them the distinction of fellowship in the Theosophical Society.
For the above reasons and others which could be given did space permit, all students are urged to abandon activity which creates division, and support those things which heal, which generate forgiveness and love and which point directly to our goal - the First Object. For we are not called upon to originate a new religion, but to create a Brotherhood of All Religions.
Yours for greater theosophical unity.
F. Pierce Spinks.
MANY LIVES ON EARTH
The man, or woman who is normally and healthily interested in life regrets its shortness, and particularly so if he or she belongs to the growing number of people who feel that the world can only be "saved" by the personal efforts of individuals. What can be accomplished in the few decades allotted to us on earth? they ask.
Fortunately we are not really so hampered in this respect as most especially Westerners suppose. Man proceeds on his evolutionary pilgrimage by means of a long, long series of incarnations. In other words, each of us has lived on earth before many times and will live, in a body similar to the one we use now, over and over again in the future. Obviously we need time to accumulate all the kinds of experience life has to offer; time to assimilate the meaning thereof; time to develop capacities for the application of our growing knowledge; time to put our impress on the world in company with those of our fellows who are like-minded with ourselves. And Nature supplies our need by the process of reincarnation.
Not many people care much about the authority of religion nowadays, but it may interest some to know that this teaching, which involves the pre-existence of the soul before birth as well as its survival after the death of the body, is one that all the great religions of the world have either taught or taken for granted.
Nay, but as when, one layeth
His worn-out robes away,
And, taking new ones, sayeth,
"These will I wear today!"
So putteth by the spirit
Lighty its garb of flesh,
And passeth to inherit
A residence afresh.
These words from Sir Edwin Arnold's Song Celestial set forth an idea which has found expression all down the ages. Even in Christianity the notion that God creates a new soul for every child born into the world was generally taught to the people only after the truth of the pre-existence of the soul had been eliminated from the accepted doctrines of the Church at a Council of Church Fathers held about 500 A.D.
This lost teaching was not restored to the West until the 19th century, when Madame Blavatsky introduced Theosophy to the public. As Theosophy is a restatement of the age-old fundamental principles of world and human evolution, it naturally includes the teaching of reincarnation. It was reintroduced about 75 years ago and the idea of rebirth is now not so strange in the West as it was, in the days when it was first propounded under the banner of the new Movement. The number of professed Theosophists is small when compared with the population of the world, or even with the reading public, but it is well known to those who are more or less conversant with what is being said and written, that Theosophical teachings have penetrated modern thought to a very remarkable extent - notably this idea of many lives on earth. Even in the last decades of the last century this was true: Madame Blavatsky, who died in 1891, is reported to have said in answer to a question:-
When you consider and remember those days in 1875 and after, in which you could not find any people interested in your thoughts, and now look at the wide-spreading influence of theosophical ideas - however labelled - it is not so bad. (Vernal Blooms, p. 6 )
This process of penetration, which then was already noticeable, has been going on ever since.
To confine ourselves to the teaching of reincarnation. In the course of these seven decades and more, it has been derided, condemned, parodied by many; but it has also found many who accepted it eagerly. Unfortunately some of the latter, though friends in intention, have done harm to the cause of truth by the wrong notions and mistaken interpretations they have propounded in its name. For us hasty moderns, whether of the East or of the West, it is hard to stop to think. We grasp at ideas quickly and are all too often satisfied with a superficial understanding of them. This leads to misstatements and misinterpretations, for the teaching involves more than we realize in the first flush of enthusiasm consequent upon our inituitive acceptance of the doctrine that fills us with new hope and gives us the conviction that life is very much worthwhile, despite its many difficulties and disappointments.
It does bring relief to feel that we have another chance in spite of death long before we have gathered the whole harvest of living - but, what reincarnates? What do we mean when we say "I" shall live on earth again? Surely not that conglomeration of personal aims and desires which we think of as ourselves! That changes from year to year, actually from minute to minute, though we may not notice the transformation. Surely not the "character" which becomes modified in a rather haphazard way as we grow in years and experience - not always for the better, or from strength to strength. Theosophy explains that all these are indeed but the temporary clothing of the actor, who is the Self, the reincarnating Ego, the real, inner man or soul, who gathers knowledge and experience of various kinds as he appears on the stage of life as a man or as a woman, in a brown body or in a black one, or in one of the
indefinite colors termed "white." What this inner Self that leaves the outworn body and in time takes a new one really is, can only be realized by each one for himself as he thinks the question through quietly, eliminating from himself in thought all that is changing and evanescent, and then trying to define what is left.
Do we go on reincarnating for ever? Theosophy says No. Earth is like a school and each incarnation represents a day. We, the pupils, have to go on attending our Earth-school until we have learned all that it has to teach us. We have to make up our minds, however, that the task before us is a stupendous one - much more difficult, much more comprehensive than we, at our present stage of development, can fathom - and that patience and persistence are needed - and time.
We are taught that the human race to which we belong has been incarnating on earth for 18 million years and to judge by the slow pace at which we are going and the ignorance, confusion, disharmony and lack of mutual consideration we meet on every hand, we shall not need to be warned, that we are far from the end of the journey even now. But there is an end, finally, and there is no reason why we should not reach it, if, like the children at school, we attend to our duty and do not waste too much time.
Why don't we remember our past lives? This question generally refers to memory in the sense of recalling details: where we lived, what our parents looked like, what profession we followed, and so forth. Things like these we do not remember, to be sure. But then they are matters which do not affect the real, reincarnating man - the Ego. They are of interest only to the personal man* and the recollection of them depends, for the vast majority of us, on the brain. [* See The Key to Theosophy, by H. P. Blavatsky, Section VIII, Subsection "On Individuality and Personality."] Now as the taking of a new body means also a new brain, it is evident that these details are not available, for the organ on which they were recorded has disintegrated, and only their essence, their signiricance, has been impressed on our real Self. So the new brain does not remember in detail the events that took place in a former earth life.
But, in another sense, we do remember; the fruit of our experience is not lost. The meaning of what we enjoyed or suffered, all that we learned from that past, constitutes an eternal possession. It is stored, not in the physical brain but in the immortal part of us; and this is at our disposal in each new incarnation. We know it as character, as the dictates of conscience, as talent in some direction, in short, as knowledge and capacity which belong to an inner store and cannot be accounted for by the accumulated experiences of this one life.
One of the treasures that some people obtain from that inner store is the conviction that we have lived before; that our real friends - and, our real enemies, if any - have not become such by contact with us in this life only and will not be lost to us when we "die." Not every one is sufficiently open to the inner influence to feel that certainty, but many are, especially children, who more commonly than grownups think, "remember" having had another mother and another father once and would talk about it all if adults did not so often discourage such confidences by calling the children silly or fanciful, or accusing them of telling fibs.
We should do well to lend an attentive ear to these "intimations of immortality" in ourselves and in others. The time has come for reorientation, and we shall never, so the great Occultists tell us, get a soul-satisfying view of life and be able to find lasting happiness until we stop interpreting ourselves and our surroundings from without and from below instead, of from within and from above.
In other words, we must give up evaluating things from the point of view merely of our physical selves and try instead to look at them with the eyes of the Immortal that we really are. As that practical man of action, General Eisenhower, said on his installation as President of Columbia University in 1948: "What the world needs, to solve its pressing difficulties, is `education in the apparently obvious'." Theosophy would add: "from the standpoint not of the body and its limitations, but from that of the inner man and his possibilities." How different life looks to one who judges it on the basis of reincarnation. - The Theosophical Movement, Oct., 1953.
POINT LOMA RETROSPECT (Continued from Page 57)
cal leader, who fulfilled an obligation placed upon him by Karman, and fulfilled it heroically and well.
But his real mission, as he often declared, was to spread the teachings of Theosophy. The expositions and elucidations of, and the new light thrown by him on the teachings of the Masters and H.P.B., will be a lasting testimonial to his fidelity to the trust placed in his hands. He defined Theosophy as "A formulation in human language of the operations, structure, composition, origin, present state and destiny of the Universe." In one of his many inspired utterances he declared: "Light for the mind, love for the heart, understanding for the intellect - all, three must be satisfied in every man before a finds real peace."
In closing these brief reflections upon my forty-three years at Point Loma, I should like to pay a tribute of love, appreciation and honor to the many dedicated members of the Headquarters family whose names do not appear in Dr. Greenwalt's book. They gave all - themselves - to the Cause of Theosophy and its leaders, who to them symbolized that Cause. Year after year they rendered efficient and devoted service wherever they were asked to work, and the record of their consecrated lives is written in letters of gold on the Screen of Time.
Jamshed As I Knew Him by Kewal Motwani, M.A., Ph.D. Published, by Ganesh & Co. (Madras) Ltd. 26 pp. paper covered.
In this little booklet Dr. Motwani, noted teacher, author and lecturer, whose Manu is used as a reference text on the social thought of India in several institutions in the United States, pays loving tribute to the memory of his friend and teacher, Jamshed Nusserrwanjee Mehta, a Parsi sanyasi and, a leading member of the Theosophical Society, whose saintly life profoundly affected all who knew him. In his native city, Karachi, he threw his extraordinary energy and talents into every endeavor which made for human betterment. A man in whom the inner god was undisputed ruler, Jamshed was respected and beloved all over India. This story of his life and of the disciple's relationship to his teacher should be of deepest interest to all theosophists.
The Point Loma Community in California, 1897-1942, A Theosophical Experiment, by Emmett A. Greenwalt, published by the University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, Calif., also Cambridge University Press, London, 236 pp., price $3.50 cloth, $2.75 paper.
The author of this history of the Point Loma Theosophical Community is an Associate Professor of History at the Los Angeles State College. Dr. Greenwalt is not a theosophist, but had free access to the archives of the headquarters of the Theosophical Society when it was at Covina. The book is scholarly and readable, and reveals a great amount of careful research work, not only in the official records but also through interviews and correspondence with the older members. The essential facts are presented adequately - and yet one wonders, whether the whole story of Point Loma can ever be known from the outer facts. These form the skeletal framework, but in a community of this character, the human problems, the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the members are the living soul - and the outer facts do not recreate the psyche. However, Dr. Greenwalt was writing a history of a movement from the standpoint of a disinterested student, not a study of group psychology.
The outstanding fact was the brilliant and dynamic personality of Mrs. Katherine Tingley, a woman possessing great will power and boundless energy, whose name, from the death of William Q. Judge in 1896 to her own death in July, 1929, was synonymous with the Theosophical activity which became known as The Point Loma Theosophical Society. Although they were contemporary, Madame Blavatsky and Mrs. Tingley never met.
Fifty years ago and later, Mrs. Tingley was the centre of many a controversy, a person revered by her followers for her occult standing and powers, denounced by others for her alleged usurpation of the leadership of the Society in America, and for the decline of the strong Society of one hundred and fifty lodges with between three and four thousand members at the time of Mr. Judge's death. Through Dr. Greenwalt's book, it is possible to acquire amore complete understanding of Mrs. Tingley and to learn lessons from the story of the course pursued by the independent theosophical group in America after the first major split in the ranks of the Theosophical Society.
Mrs. Tingley was a natural leader and had the capacity of attracting and holding many prominent men and women who accepted her leadership and who shared in her dream of establishing a community which would serve as the Society headquarters and as a place where a theosophic way of life could be lived. The devotion and self-sacrifice of the men and women who contributed so greatly to the success of the many directional activities at the Centre, are implicit in the history.
In the halcyon days of Point Loma, the population in the Community numbered about 500. This number, however, was gained at the expense of the lodges. Mrs. Tingley's policy was to attract the prominent members to Headquarters. This policy was contrary to Mr. Judge's and eventually led to the closing of the lodges and the concentration of all power at Point Loma.
The opening chapters of the book deal with Theosophical doctrines and the highlights of the Theosophical Movement from 1875 to the death of Mr. Judge, together with the leadership controversy which broke the Movement
into two parts, each going its own separate way without regard to the other. The famous World Crusade of 1896 is also reported, this was intended to reinforce the Lodges abroad which had followed the Theosophical Society in America in its break with Adyar. The Crusade was to culminate at Point Loma, a spot which Mrs. Tingley had not seen at that time. Lands were purchased during the Crusade and on its return Mrs. Tingley threw her energies into establishing a centre there.
The education of children on the lines of Universal Brotherhood was the first object of the International Brotherhood League organized by Mrs. Tingley in 1897, and at Point Loma the Raja Yoga School was an early and important activity. The school was started in 1900 with five pupils; later a number of children were brought from Cuba where Mrs. Tingley had conducted a nursing and relief organization during the Spanish-American war - one of her many humanitarian and reform efforts. In 1911 there were some three hundred children from a score of nationalities. Six to twelve pupils formed a class and there were sixty teachers engaged in the work. The teacher in charge of a class lived with the pupils day and night. The basic idea of the school was that children from their early age should be brought up in an environment which would elicit their inner, spiritual talents. There was no corporal punishment in the School. The training appears to have been excellent, and every report quoted by Dr. Greenwalt, speaks highly of the discipline, demeanor, dignity and attainments of the pupils. Other Raja Yoga Schools were established in Cuba, Sweden, England and Germany.
It is not possible to do more than mention the multitudinous activities of Point Loma. Conceived in an era which abounded in Utopian schemes, it was an almost self-supporting community. Along with the more earthly activities such as farming, gardening, orchards, reforestation, apiaries, a venture in silkworm culture, there were also the crafts, weaving, designing, printing, book-binding, engraving, photography, stagecraft, carpenters' shops, blacksmith and plumbing shops, tailoring, and the making of gifts for sale. Drama, dance and music held very important places in the Community and attracted attention far outside the Community itself. Many of the musical instruments were made by the skilled craftsmen of Point Loma, it was natural that such a Community should attract artists from all over the world, many of whom lived at Point Loma for lengthy periods. Those readers who are interested in these phases of the Point Loma life are referred to the book for many interesting details. It should be noted that whatever was done at Point Loma was done well; `If it is worth doing at all, it is, worth doing perfectly' might have been the motto. Many of the activities became world famous and the experiments in agriculture were of permanent value to the State of California.
The printing press and bindery of Point Loma issued editions of H.P.B.'s and Mr. Judge's principal works; Mrs. Tingley herself was not an author. In Dr. Greenwalt's opinion, "Unlike Madame Blavatsky, Katherine Tingley could not sit still long enough to write a book." The five books credited to her are edited renderings of lectures. Dramas were the medium for the presentation of Theosophical ideas: The Aroma of Athens was the first. Kenneth Morris, a Welsh poet of considerable genius wrote mystical plays and poems, Dr. Charles J. Ryan, a constant contributor to the several magazines issued at
Point Loma, wrote an excellent defence of H.P.B. in his H.P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement. After Mrs. Tingley's death, the following Leader, Dr. de Purucker wrote several weighty volumes. The principles of Theosophy were well presented in a set of booklets written by Point Loma writers. Mrs. Tingley was opposed to psychism and the Point Loma literature bore the imprint of reason anid logic, rather than of psychic visions.
The latter portions of the book deal with the decline and closing of the centre, brought about by the heavy indebtedness incurred in carrying out the many ventures. With Mrs. Tingley's death, the expectation of receiving donations in the same scale as theretofore, ceased, and her successors found it financially impossible to carry on. The five hundred acres of land and the beautiful buildings were sold, and the debts discharged. The headquarters were transferred to Covina, later to Pasadena, but the early death of Dr. Purucker was the finial blow. In accordance with Dr. Purucker's written instructions, the Society was administered by the Cabinet for three years, at which time by a majority vote, the Cabinet elected Colonel Conger to the Leadership. On his death, Mr. James A. Long assumed the role, but internal dissension drove many members away and the Society is now small in numbers.
In viewing the experiment in retrospect through this book, one can sympathize fully with the ideal of bringing the Theosophical attitude into all phases of human life, but it is questionable whether the best place to do this is in a separated community. The number of activities which were entered upon, diverted vital energy from the primary work of understanding and spreading Theosophy. Great and abundant talents were given to ends which while very worthwhile in themselves, could have been carried on by others not possessing the peculiar aptitude for Theosophical research and study. Had this talent been spread through the lodges, greater Theosophical service might have been rendered to the world.
Yet Point Loma was an attractive dream, a vision to which some of us might have responded had our Karma led us there. Some might have rebelled and left for one reason or another as did many older students who were associated with the early days of the effort, Ernest T. Hargrove, Claude Falls Wright, Dr. Jerome Anderson, Mrs. Alice L. Cleather, Basil Crump, Robert Crosbie, the founder of the United Lodge of Theosophists, and our own former General Secretary and Editor of The Canadian Theosophist, Mr. A.E.S. Smythe, who was at Point Loma and who lectured for the Society in the United States, England and Ireland.
Distaste for ceremonialism, opposition to the autocracy of Mrs. Tingley, conviction that an isolated life was not the way to be followed, were some of the reasonts given by those who left. Many stayed, attracted by the dream of a quiet community, interested in the arts and crafts, leading a life divorced from the turmoil of the world, and sustained by the conviction that the centre was the permanent home of Theosophy, and, that the Leader was the direct messenger of the Masters.
Readers will find this book an interesting and useful history of a Theosophical group, which having accepted the principle of absolute authority of the Leader, followed that Leader through her mistakes as well as her triumphs, and in the course of its work made many contributions to the Theosophical Cause. Although the outer work died, the ancient flame had been rekindled for individuals, and the Theosophical Movement is the richer for this.
ORIGINAL AND UP-TO-DATE THEOSOPHY
We lend freely by mail all the comprehensive literature of the Movement. Catalogue on request. Also to lend, or for sale at 20c each post free, our eight H.P.B. Pamphlets, including early articles from LUCIFER and Letters from the Initiates.
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THE AQUARIAN METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY
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- La Bas (Down There) Illustrated. By J. K. Huysmans $1.85
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- Chaldean Oracles, The, of Zoroaster. Edited and revised by Saper Aude $1.25
- Paradoxes of the Highest Science, The, By Eliphas Levi $1.25
- Magick, in Theory and Practice. By Therion. Being Part III of Book 4 with colored plate $3.00
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- Somerset Giants, The, with Map. By K.E. Maltwood, F.R.S.A. .40
- Symbolism of the Tarot, The. By P. D. Ouspensky, St. Petersburg, Russia, 1913 $1.50
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Any of the above if still available, can be obtained from:
THE GUARDSMAN PUBLISHING CO. P.O. Box 333, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
- CALGARY LODGE: President, E.H. Lloyd Knechtel; Secretary, Mrs. Lilian Glover, 418, 10th Ave. N.W., Calgary, Alta. Meetings at 510 Crescent Road
- EDMONTON LODGE: President, Mr. Emory P. Wood, Secretary, Mrs. Madeline Williams, 10943 77th Ave., Edmonton, Alta.
- HAMILTON LODGE: President, Mr. C.E. Bunting; Secretary, Mrs. Clare Lakin, Ancaster, Ont.
- KITCHENER LODGE: President, Alexander Watt; Secretary, John Oberlerchener, Kingsdale P.O. Kitchener
- MONTREAL LODGE: President, Mrs. W.S. Harley; Secretary, Mrs. M. Duncan Roth, Lodge Rooms, 1501 St. Catherine Street West, Montreal, Que.
- OTTAWA LODGE: Enquiries respecting Theosophical activities in Ottawa should be addressed to: Mrs. D. H. Chambers, 531 Bay Street, Ottawa, Ont.
- ST. THOMAS LODGE: President Benj. T. Garside, Secretary, Mrs. Hazel B, Garside, 71 Hincks St., St. Thomas, Ont.
- TORONTO LODGE: President, Mr. G.I. Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Ave., Toronto 12 (phone Mohawk 5346). Recording Secretary, Miss Laura Gaunt. Lodge Rooms 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ont.
- VANCOUVER LODGE: President, Mrs. Buchanan; Secretary, M.D. Buchanan, 4690 W. 8th Ave., The Lodge rooms are at 151 1/2 Hastings St. West
- ORPHEUS LODGE, VANCOUVER: President, Ernest Wilks; Secretary, L.C. Hanson; Copp Bldg, Vancouver.
- WINNIPEG LODGE: Secretary, P.H. Stokes, Suite 8, 149 Langside Street, Winnipeg, Man.