Vol. XXXVIII, No. 5 Toronto, Nov.-Dec., 1957 Price 35 Cents
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SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT
A NEW YEAR'S QUEST
There is no more fitting month than December in which to consider Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for it is the story of a New Year's quest. It is also one of the most technically perfect poems ever written in the English language, and even more important, it contains treasures of symbolic relationships for the thoughtful reader. The unknown poet of the late 14th century who produced this masterpiece in the west-midland dialect used the long stanza of the French romancers while combining many elements which are apparently systematically contrasted and held as opposites in a balanced tension within a structural pattern. Courtly and barbaric elements are balanced against each other, Christian and pagan, winter and spring, snow (cold) and fire (heat), chastity and lust, resistance and yielding, action and passivity, life and death.
There is general agreement among the critics that the Green Knight and his beheading represent a vegetative deity, the dying god, and that god's renewal in the spring. But there is no attempt to link Gawain himself with each one of the esoteric symbols which are undoubtedly present and which cannot fail to have great significance in so carefully constructed a poem. A poem furthermore, that is patently the work of a man with tremendous learning who used a rich vocabulary of extreme difficulty. A vocabulary fully demonstrating that modern English is a fusion of English, French, Danish, Norse and Latin. It appears to me that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is not only a first rate romance showing great technical skill on the part of the author, and an unusual ability to develop character through easy dialogue but that it is also a story of initiation with the processes of initiation adumbrated through symbol and allegory. As C.S. Lewis said in the Allegory of Love, "Symbolism is a mode of thought, but allegory is a mode of expression". These twenty-five hundred-odd lines of English alliterative verse lend themselves admirably to this kind of dual interpretation as they present to the occultist a symbolic account of certain events in the supersensible worlds. The symbolic pilgrim might be said to meet with allegoric figures and events during the course of his symbolic quest. Literary critics like Mr. Lewis can see no specific Christian spiritual reality which might be signified by the whole of a tale such as this, unless it be the
regeneration of the Christian who defeats temptation, and they tend to deny its symbolic value on the basis that it does not fit into the usual morality pattern. To the investigator of the arcane teachings the bare facts are significant and many details are found to correspond to the unmistakable pattern of the story outline.
To begin with the facts. "King Arthur held court at Camelot in Christmas season. On New Year's day he kept his vow not to begin the feast on such a high day before he had seen a marvel. As he waited, a horseman came riding into the hall, a Green Knight on a green horse; even the knight's hair and skin were green. Without dismounting, the Green Knight issued a challenge, that any of Arthur's knights should strike him a blow with the huge axe which he carried and receive from him a blow in return in a year's time. The court was astounded and silent, and the Green Knight laughed aloud. In anger then Arthur seized the axe and was about to strike, when Gawain arose and asked that the adventure might be his. With a single stroke Gawain sent the green head rolling on the floor; but the knight lifted it up, and it opened its eyes and moved its lips, adjuring Gawain to meet the knight in a year's time at the Green Chapel. With that the headless knight leaped on his horse and rushed out of the hall.
"After the autumn court on All Saints' Day, Gawain set out from Camelot to search for the Green Chapel. He rode north through Wales and over the Dee, and still his quest was not achieved. On Christmas Eve he came upon a castle in the midst of a wild forest, and there got lodging. The lord of the castle entertained him nobly. He was entertained also by the ladies of the castle, the lord's fair wife, who was more beautiful than Guinevere, Gawain thought, and an ancient dame as hideous as the other was fair. Gawain stayed over St. John's day (Dec. 27) and then would have departed to continue his quest, but the lord assured him that the Green Chapel was not two miles away, and bade him stay till New Year's morning.
"On each of the intervening three days the lord proposed a merry bargain, that they should exchange in the evening whatever fortune they achieved during the day. The lord went forth at daybreak to the chase, while Gawain lay late abed to rest. Now Gawain was visited thrice secretly by the lady, who made offers of her love, but Gawain protested his unworthiness and evaded her offers without the discourtesy of a direct refusal. On each occasion she kissed him (once, twice, three times) and the kisses he rendered faithfully to the lord, who each evening presented his kill to Gawain.
"On the third day the lady offered him love-tokens. Her girdle of green silk, she said, had such virtue that none could be wounded who wore it. Gawain thought of the Green Knight's axe, to be wielded on the morrow, and when she pressed the girdle on him he yielded, and promised to conceal it from her lord.
"In the morning he rode over the hills to a wild valley where he found the Green Chapel - no ordinary chapel, but a hollow green mound. There came the Green Knight with an axe even bigger than before. Gawain made ready to take the blow, but shrank a little as he saw the blade descend; the knight withheld his axe and reproached him. Again the knight made a feint with the axe; but at the third time he let it wound Gawain's neck slightly. Gawain sprang up more than a spear length, and made ready to defend himself, but the Green Knight leaned upon his axe and spoke
merrily to him. He knew all about the temptations of the lady; he was no other than the lord of the castle. He had made two feints at Gawain for the two days when he had resisted temptation and faithfully paid up the kisses. He had nicked Gawain's neck at the third stroke because he had not been perfect in troth, but had concealed the girdle. The name of the Green Knight was Bercilak de Hautdesert, the ancient dame at his castle was Morgan la Fay, who had wrought the whole enchantment to frighten Guinevere and shame Arthur's court. Gawain's virtue had defeated her purpose.
"Though praised by the Green Knight, Gawain felt himself greatly shamed. The green girdle he kept and wore as a baldric in token of his fault. Now he took his way back to Arthur's court, where he was comforted; the lords and ladies of the Round Table ever after wore a green baldric in honor of Gawain's great loyalty." (1) [ (1) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, (ed.) Tolkien & Gordon, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1952, intro. pp viii-x.]
Since water, considered as an esoteric symbol, may be given seven interpretations and is in its lowest aspect the token for matter it is not unreasonable to say that as Gawain crosses the river Dee he is symbolically shown to be entering into earthly or physical life. All the previous action has taken place upon the subjective or inner planes. As life on earth is death for the spirit it is fitting that he should cross the Dee on All Saints' Day, late in the autumn, as the year moves wraith-like to its shortest day.
There is an interesting account in Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough of the more material part played in myth by the water symbol. Every year Tammuz or Adonis died and Ishtar, the embodiment of the reproductive energies of nature, descended to the underworld to bring him again into the sunlight. During her absence the passion of love ceased to operate and all life was threatened with extinction. A messenger was sent from the great god Ea:
The stern queen of the infernal regions . . . reluctantly allowed Ishtar to be sprinkled with the Water of Life and to depart, in company probably with her lover Tammuz, that the two might return together to the upper world, and that with their return all nature might revive. (Frazer, p. 326).
But the Dee is not the only river Gawain crosses. During the course of his journey he traverses many bodies of water and at each he meets and conquers a foe. (II. 715-17).
Gawain is virtuous in five ways, and in each way with reference to five things: the five wits, the five fingers, the five wounds, the five joys, and the five virtues. To translate the fourteenth century verse description of the last five:
The fifth group of five that I find that the Knight practised
Were generosity and love of fellow men above everything.
His purity and his courtesy never failed,
And pity that passes all qualities, these pure five
Were clasped more firmly to that lord than to any other.
But how are these twenty-five virtues symbolized? By a golden pentangle specifically attributed to Solomon (I. 625) and blazoned upon a bright red shield which is given to him as a parting gift by Arthur and the Court. Now the pentangle was an ancient symbol of perfection used by the Pythagoreans, the Neo-Platonists, and the Gnostics,
and requires no elaborate interpretation here. Suffice it to say that it clearly marks Gawain as a follower of the ancient truths. The twenty-five virtues already attained by Gawain are significant in that they comprise half the number of the Kabbalistic Fifty Gates of Wisdom. These "gates" typify the different planes of Being. They are thus the "gates" of Life and the "gates" of understanding or degrees of occult knowledge. These 49 (or 50) gates correspond to the Seven gates in the seven caves of Initiation into the Mysteries of Mithra. These Kabbalistic gates are divided into five chief gates each including ten.
To be sure Gawain's list contains the five wounds of Christ and the five joys of the Queen of Heaven but it is well to remember that all evidence points to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight having been written during the last quarter of the fourteenth century when for eighty years the Papal authority had been very slack as rival popes defied each other from Rome and Avignon. Frequently during periods of lassitude on the part of the central authority, mystics and occultists of all sorts allied themselves with the church. However, it is even more likely, for the poem bears textual evidence to support the theory, that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was the work of a layman. If so, why not a layman who, a faithful son of the church, sought to explain some of the mysteries of human existence in symbols drawn from many sources? The spirit of tolerance is undeniably as old as that spirit which demands a rigid adherence to an authoritative terminology.
In this poem we see played out on a stage, as it were, the old doctrine that the candidate for initiation, having conquered the powers of this globe in his immaterial state, must also triumph over them in his human form. He must now learn to live with the Green Knight, albeit he does not recognize him for the Green Knight. He must deal courteously with the lord, he must keep faith with his host while not betraying his greater trust, and he must ultimately withstand the Knight's cruelest blow.
A good case can be made for an equation of the Lord's wife with Gawain's individual egoic powers. The boisterous action of the Lord's three hunts is very carefully paralleled by the passive quietude of the bedchamber scenes where the conflict is no less keen; the one signifying the aspects of physical life Gawain is grappling with and the other the plane on which he fights. Both sequences are emphatically linked to Gawain's one misdemeanor, the concealment of the girdle which is to save his life. The animals hunted by the Lord are highly symbolic. The first are "barren hinds", that is, does without horns and without young. Now from Vach in the Aitareya Brahmana who fled from Brahma and was changed into a deer to Io in the form of a heifer who fled from Jupiter, the hornless deer or the hornless cow was a symbol for creative nature. It was the Bull, her horned calf, and in time her horned self, who symbolized the divine, vivifying spirit. The second animal hunted by the knight is the boar. Again the Indian scriptures offer a clue. In the Puranas is found the allegory of Brahma assuming the form of a boar to rescue the earth from under the waters. Or in Greek mythology Ares, god of warlike frenzy, in the form of a boar slays Adonis. Similarly both the boar and Gawain put up a good fight; they are no longer passive. The third animal hunted by the lord is the cunning fox and it requires no stretching of the imagination to see in this beast, and, in Gawain's strategms on the occasion of the third visit, the type of the
man who is fully employing his worldly intelligence or lower Manas.
In the end, of course, Gawain must keep faith with the Green Knight. He must go forth. He had come to the castle on Christmas Eve and he left it on New Year's morning. Just as what we know as birth has its origin nine months previously, so all births have their inception in complete plasticity of matter when the mold or form is being created. For the year this is the period when the sun has withdrawn to its farthest point, for the spiritual entity we know as man this is the experience of death, for the initiate this is the final symbolic death. Gawain goes forth and when he finds the Green Chapel, it is remarkably like a grave or tumulus. It is a hollow green mound.
Having faced the Green Knight Gawain discovers that if he had not yielded to the desire for self-preservation he would not even have been nicked! The relinquishment of self which is found here is that which accompanies attachment to a higher purpose. It is not a rejection of life but a binding to a nobler quest. Gawain must abide by his pledged word, i.e. the truth.
Yet this is all an enchantment, a maya. From it the Knight gains the guerdon of honor which is to him a shame. Still, the necessity for undertaking the quest is clear. Arthur himself would have slain the Green Knight and this may not be. The god within may not war with the universe. Only thinking man pursues a mimic warfare, whose true perils are dishonor and defeat, the knowledge of his own shame. Death is but the passage to victory and from the Green Knight he learns of his powers. He rises with new lustre just as the spring returns with new beauty.
On this Christmas Eve let us remember the greater birth to come and prepare ourselves for the New Year of a new life as well as for the New Year of this our material universe.
- Laura Gaunt.
THE WISDOM OF CONFUCIUS
By Iverson L. Harris
(Continued from Page 80)
If the Confucian system has failed in China during recent decades, as Lin Yutang, backed by a rather formidable array of facts and arguments avers, it was not because the system itself was at all wrong as an ideal: it was merely because there were not enough true gentlemen or superior men in China to carry it into effect throughout the Empire. Nevertheless, the power for good of a man of character and unimpeachable integrity will always be felt, no matter what system of government maybe adopted, and the most perfect system that was ever devised by man to regulate the relations of man to man, whether in the family, the community, the state, the nation, or the world, can be wrecked by a forceful character gone wrong or a weak character with more authority than wisdom, self-control and generosity. Improved systems can always be helpful; but their successful functioning will inevitably depend upon the character of the administrator. In China, ever since the days of Confucius - until recently, at any rate - there has been but one word for scholar and official. Under his teachings, as systematized by his greatest expounder, Mencius,
to hold any office of responsibility and emolument in China one had to be at least a learned man. Any man who could pass the examinations was eligible to public office.
Said Confucius in the Analects, as translated, by Dr. Lionel Giles:
"A virtuous ruler is like the Pole-star, which keeps its place, while all the other stars do homage to it.
"People despotically governed and kept in order by punishments may avoid infraction of the law, but they will lose their moral sense. People virtuously governed and kept in order by the inner law of self-control will retain their moral sense, and moreover become good." - p. 39 (1)
"Chi K'ang Tzu asked by what means he might cause his people to be respectful and loyal, and encourage them in the path of virtue. The Master replied: `Conduct yourself towards them with dignity, and you will earn their respect; be a good son and a kind prince, and you will find them loyal; promote the deserving and instruct those who fall short, and they will be encouraged to follow the path of virtue'." - p. 40.
"The Master said: `If the ruler is personally upright, his subjects will do their duty unbidden; if he is not personally upright, they will not obey, whatever his bidding'." - p. 45.
"In serving your prince, make the actual service your first care, and only put the emolument second." - p. 48.
Many readers will be familiar with the teaching of The Voice of the Silence:
"Help Nature and work on with her; and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance." Blending Lin Yutang's translation of a certain passage in the Chung Yung with Ku Hung Ming's version of the same piece, I get the following, which ends on a note very similar to the passage quoted from The Voice:
"It is only he, in the world, who possesses absolute truth that can understand himself; only he who understands himself that can understand other men; he who understands other men will understand the nature of things around him and will be worthy to help Nature in building the Universe; and he who is worthy to help Nature in her creative work is the equal of Heaven and Earth." (4) p. 123; (5) p. 45.
It seems important here to discuss briefly the Confucian doctrine of li. Dr. James Legge, the early missionary translator to whom we are greatly indebted for making available in our tongue the facts of the Sage's life, though not for his misinterpretations of some of the Master's doctrines, rendered into English the word li as 'rules of propriety'; so that much of K'ung Futze's teaching has come to have for the West the similitude of a Chinese book of etiquette; and with the differing customs of epoch and race and hemisphere Master Kung's doctrine of the li has become to us almost meaningless at times and tiresome, because the heart of it was hidden by inadequate translation and interpretation. This injustice to Confucius has been thoroughly exposed by Dr. Lionel Giles with a scholarship, sympathy and intuitive understanding that must command the respect of every student. With Con-fucius the essential meaning of li was a state of harmony within the soul, whereby the individual made of himself a fit channel for beneficent forces from the Infinite to flow through him - to the whole state if he was the ruler, and if he was a father, to the whole family. Hence the Master's insistence upon loyalty to the sovereign and filial piety, in order that the proper li might be
established; and as an outermost expression of this li he insisted also upon perfect courtesy in all human intercourse.
As Kenneth Morris comments:
"In very truth, this [li] is the Doctrine of the Golden Age, and proof of the profound occult wisdom of Confucius: even the (comparatively) little of it that was ever made practical lifted China to the grand height she has held. It is hinted at in the Bhagavad-Gita - `whatsoever is practised by the most excellent men'; again, it is the Aryan doctrine of the Guruparampara Chain. The whole idea must seem to theWest so utopian, even absurd; but we have Asoka's reign in India and Confucius's Ministry in Lu, to prove its basic truth. During that Ministry he had flashed the picture of such a ruler on to the screen of time; and it was enough. China could never forget." (6)
As for the Master's own convictions about the relative importance of the inner li or harmony of the soul and the outer li or observance of the proprieties and prescribed ceremonies, the following passages from The Sayings of Confucius bear competent witness:
"A man without charity in his heart - what has he to do with ceremonies? A man without charity in his heart - what has he to do with music?" - pp. 55-56. (1)
"Tzu Kung asked, saying: Is there any one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout one's whole life? - The Master replied: Surely the maxim of charity is such; Do not unto others what you would not they should do unto you." - pp. 68-69.
It should be borne in mind that this was enunciated five hundred years before the Nazarene gave to the people of Judaea the Golden Rule. Some have considered Confucius's enunciation to be a negative rule as compared with the
teaching of Christ; but others maintain that though negative in form, it is possibly an even more effective way of bringing about universal well-being, because of its positive discouragement of meddling in the affairs of others. The Chinese Sage also said, "The higher type of man seeks all that he wants in himself; the inferior man seeks all that he wants from others," - p. 68.
"The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others and does not accentuate the bad. The inferior sort does the reverse." - p. 64.
"Better than one who knows what is right is one who is fond of what is is right; and better than one who is fond of what is right is one who delights in what is right." - p. 59.
"The nobler sort of man in his progress through the world has neither narrow predilections nor obstinate antipathies. What he follows is the line of duty." - p. 57.
"The nobler sort of man is proficient in the knowledge of his duty; the inferior man is proficient only in money-making." - p. 57.
"The nobler sort of man pays special attention to nine points. He is anxious to see clearly, to hear distinctly, to be kindly in his looks, respectful in his demeanour, conscientious in his speech, earnest in his affairs; when in doubt, he is careful to inquire; when in anger, he thinks of the consequences; when offered an opportunity for gain, he thinks only of his duty." - p. 69.
"Tzu Chang asked Confucius a question about moral virtue. Confucius replied: Moral virtue simply consists in being able, anywhere and everywhere, to exercise five particular qualities. Asked what these were, he said: Self-respect, magnanimity, sincerity, earnestness and benevolence. Show self-respect, and others
will respect you; be magnanimous, and, you will win all hearts; be sincere, and men will trust you; be earnest, and you will achieve great things; be benevolent, and you will be fit to impose your will on others.
"Tzu Lu asked: Does not the princely man value courage? - The Master said: He puts righteousness first. The man of high station who has courage without righteousness is a menace to the State; the common man who has courage without righteousness is nothing more than a brigand.
"Tzu Kung asked: Has the nobler sort of man any hatreds? - The Master replied: He has. He hates those who publish the faults of others; he hates men of low condition who vilify those above them; he hates those whose courage is unaccompanied by self-restraint; he hates those who are audacious but narrow-minded. And you, Tzu, he added, have you also hatreds? - I hate, replied the disciple, those who think that wisdom consists in prying and meddling; courage, in showing no compliance; and honesty, in denouncing other men." - pp. 69-70.
"It has not been my lot to see a divine man; could I see a princely man, that would satisfy me. Its has not been my lot to see a thoroughly virtuous man; could I see a man possessing honesty of soul, that would satisfy me. Is it possible there should be honesty of soul in one who pretends to have what he has not; who, when empty, pretends to be overflowing; who, when in want, pretends to be in affluence?" - p. 61.
"The princely man has three great virtues, which I cannot claim for myself. He is truly benevolent, and is free from care; he is truly wise, and is free from delusions; he is truly brave, and is free from fear. - Nay, replied Tzu Kung, these virtues are our Master's own." - pp. 66-67.
"Tzu Kung asked: What would you say of the man who conferred benefits far and wide on the people and was able to be the salvation of all? Would you pronounce him a man of moral virtue? - Of moral virtue? said the Master. Nay, rather, of divine virtue. Even Yao and Shun were still striving to attain this height." - p. 60. Confucius had no room in his philosophy for spiritual bribery of any kind. He offered no rewards in the hereafter for right conduct here below. His uncompromising ethical standards would permit of holding out no inducement for just and righteous living other than the realization that by so doing the world was made a better place to live in and society as a whole was benefitted thereby.
Because, so far as we know, he revealed none of the secrets which hold such fascination for mystical minds, our Sage has been accused of not being a religious teacher at all. He never claimed to be. In fact, he refused to talk of things about which he did not know and which could not be verified by experience here on earth. One of his most famous sayings was: "Before we know what life is, how can we know what death is?" Even this epigrammatic translation is long-winded as compared with the conciseness of the original Chinese. Lin Yutang tells us that only pidgin-English can give anything like the stark, chiseled force of the recorded sayings of the Sage in Chinese. This particular one he renders, therefore, as "Don't know life, how know death?"
Dr. Lin finds, proof that Confucius was what she calls a `real man' in a number of recorded anecdotes, showing that the Master had, besides other delightful human qualities, a genuine sense of humor and could laugh at himself - the
beat of all forms of humor. One example will have to suffice:
"Once the Master and his disciples had lost track of each other. The disciples finally heard from the crowd that there was a tall man standing at the East Gate with a high forehead resembling some of the ancient emperors, but that he looked crestfallen like a homeless wandering dog. The disciples finally found him and told him about this remark and Confucius replied, `I don't know about my resembling those ancient emperors, but as for resembling a homeless, wandering dog, he is quite right! He is quite right'!" (4).
It is beyond the scope of this paper to recount in detail the Master's long years of wandering over much of the feudal Middle Kingdom of his day in the vain effort to find some duke or prince who would accept his teaching and guidance and permit him to do in a larger sphere what he had proven he could do when given the opportunity by civil authorities in narrower jurisdictions, such as in the city of Chungto and in the Marquisate of Lu. He was, painfully aware of the impossibility of `carving rotten wood' - the rotten wood being, as repeatedly shown, the rulers themselves. It was this prolonged, tragic phase of the Master's life which enables one to understand those awesome and inspiring words of Mencius which might have been uttered by the psychopomp to a candidate for initiation into the sacred mysteries of antiquity.
"When Heaven is about to confer a great office on any man, it first disciplines his mind with suffering, and his bones and sinews with toil. It exposes him to want and subjects him to extreme poverty. It confounds his undertakings. By all these methods it stimulates his mind, hardens him, and supplies his incompetencies."
Of the Master's last days and of his passing from this sphere there is the following touching account:
"In 481, we read, a servant of the Chief of Clan Chi caught a strange one-horned animal, with a white ribbon tied to its horn. None had seen the like of it; and Confucius, being the most learned of men, was called in to make pronouncement. He recognized it at once from his mother's description: it was the k'e-lin, the unicorn; that was the ribbon Ching-tsai had decked it with in the cave on Mount Ne the night of his birth. He burst into tears. `For whom have you come?' he cried; `for whom have you come?' And then: `The course of my doctrine is run, and wisdom is still neglected, and success is still worshipped. My principles make no progress; how will it be in the after ages?' - Ah, could he have known! - I mean, that old weary mind and body; the Soul which was Confucius knew."
"On the banks of the Sze his disciples buried him; and for three years mourned at his grave. But Tse Kung built himself a cabin, at the graveside, and remained there three years longer. `All my life,' said he, `I have had heaven above my head, but I do not know its height. I have had earth beneath my feet, but I have not known its magnitude. I served Confucius: I was like a thirsty man going with his pitcher to the river. I drank my fill, but I never knew the depth of the water'." (6)
Says Kenneth Morris:
"Confucius . . knew that supreme secret, how to teach, which is the office of a Teacher: he knew how to build up the inner life of his disciples;
to coax, train, lure the hidden god into manifestation in them. . . Tse Kung . . . asked which was the better, Shih or Shang. (They were two disciples.) Confucius answered: `Shih goes too far; Shang not far enough.' Said Tse Kung (just as you or I would have done): - `Then Shih is the better man?' - `Too far,' replied Confucius, `is not better than not far enough.' To my ears there is more occultism in that than in a thousand ethical injunctions."
Below I cite a passage of transcendental commonsense, which is not only a wonderful summary of the Sage's philosophy of life, but, incidentally, might have been quoted in part for his own epitaph. It is taken from Ku Hung Ming's translation of the Chung Yung, which, as already stated, he renders as `The Universal Order' of Confucius, Chapter xxviii:
"To attain to the sovereignty of the world, there are three important things necessary; they may perhaps be summed up in one: blamelessness of life.
"However excellent a system of moral truths appealing to supernatural authority may be, it is not verifiable by experience; what is not verifiable by experience cannot command credence; and what cannot command credence the people will never obey. However excellent a system of moral truths appealing merely to worldly authority may be it does not command respect; what does not command respect cannot command credence; and what cannot command credence the people will never obey.
"Therefore every system of moral laws must be based upon the man's own consciousness. It must be verified by the common experience of men. Examined into by comparing it with the teachings of acknowledged great and wise men of the past, there must be no divergence. Applying it to the operations and processes of nature in the physical universe, there must be no contradiction. Confronted with the spiritual powers of the universe a man must be able to maintain it without any doubt. He must be prepared to wait a hundred generations after him for the coming of a man of perfect divine nature to confirm it without any misgiving. The fact that he is able to confront the spiritual powers of the universe without any doubt, shows that he understands the will of God. The fact that he is prepared to wait a hundred generations after him for the man of perfect divine nature without any misgiving, shows that he understands the nature of man.
"Wherefore it is that it is true of the really great moral man, that every act of his life becomes an example for generations; everything he does becomes a statute for generations, and every word he utters becomes a law for generations. Those who are far away and do not know him look up to him, while those who are near and know him do not reject him."
It is not to be supposed that the Master actually spoke in such epigrammatic, trenchant language. No human being could do so. These sayings attributed to him show the result of much polishing and lapping away of all superfluous verbiage. There is good reason to believe that none of them were written down until the third generation from the Sage. But they do most certainly represent the very pith and marrow of his 'Weltanschauung' or outlook on life. They have been learned by heart by generations of Chinese scholars since and are graven on stones and copied in beautiful calligraphy on countless scrolls throughout the Middle
(Continued on Page 110)
It is with deep sorrow I pen these lines recording the passing of one whom I have known and respected for nearly as long as I have been a Theosophist. Mary Kinman, beloved wife and helpmate of George I. Kinman, president of the Toronto Lodge, passed away on October 15. She joined the Theosophi-cal Society in December 1933 and from then on became a pillar of the lodge working indefatigably for its welfare and all it represents. That she has left us for more important work is indubitable, how important must be gauged by the suddenness of the call. It is not for us to cavil at such an event, but it leaves us bewildered at the loss. To all she was a tower of strength and to me personally she was an aide who in my work was invaluable. Undoubted abilities, coupled with quiet efficiency proclaimed her a leader to whom all paid tribute. Wherever duty called, Mary Kinman was there, ready and willing for any exigency. Nothing was too large or too small for her capacity, she dealt with them promptly in her, well known understanding manner. In every action inspired by dusty or relevance to the Cause her gentle influence was felt like an underlying current of fervor and devotion. Toronto Lodge can never be the same now her presence is not there, but I know that in her quiet way she would deprecate such an idea and would urge in its place that everyone be up and doing his best to keep up the good work not only for the lodge but for Theosophy. Finally I salute her, "Well Done, Thou True and Faithful Servant, may all you have done inspire us who remain to carry on as you would have wished." R.I.P.
- General Secretary.
MR. HARRY J. TALLMAN
I regret to report the sudden death of Mr. Harry J. Tallman of Toronto Lodge on September 3. Mr. Tallman joined the Theosophical Society in Hamilton, Ontario, about 1913. When he moved to Toronto, he became a member of the Toronto Lodge and subsequently its Secretary. He was very active both as an officer and lecturer during those years when the Toronto Lodge began to expand and to hold regular Sunday meetings in the Oddfellows Hall on College St. During the time of the formation of the Theosophical Society in Canada, Mr. Tallman was closely associated with the organizational work and in conducting the correspondence with Headquarters and the Canadian Lodges. After the charter had been granted, he served for several years on the General Executive.
A Theosophical service was conducted by Miss M. Hindsley and cremation took place at the Toronto Crematorium.
Our sincere sympathy is extended to Mrs. Tallman and Harry, their son.
- E. L. T.
"Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams! Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever;
Death has not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems."
The Song Celestial, Sir Edwin Arnold.
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
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
Charles E. Bunting, 75 Rosedale Ave., Hamilton, Ont.
Charles Mr. Hale, 26 Albion Ave., Toronto, Ont.
Mrs. W.S. Harley, 254 Pine Beach Blvd., Dorval, P.Q.
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.
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
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.
Phoenix Lodge wound up a most encouraging year with a midweek class running throughout the summer months with a good attendance, using as a textbook "Keys to Occult Science" by Cecil Williams.
A Garden Bazaar was held in August, and while the weatherman was not kind to us, it was most successful from both a social and financial point of view.
Phoenix Lodge was privileged to have a visit from the General Secretary on Sunday, September 29th, and he gave a very inspiring talk stressing the practical aspects of Theosophy. After his lecture Col. Thomson graciously consented to act as Installation Officer for the new incoming executive. The officers installed for the following year were Mrs. Kathleen Marks, President; Earle T. Bradfield, Vice-President; Mrs. Hazel Brook, Secretary; C. Richard McIlroy, Treasurer; Jan Golumski, Asst. Treasurer; Henry Kramkowski, Librarian; Mrs. Alice Williams, Social Convenor; Mrs. Agnes Hambly, Membership Convenor.
In installing them for the following year, Col. Thomson reminded them of the various duties that would be expected of them while in office, and also spoke of the qualities needed for real teamwork. He reminded them of their responsibilities to Phoenix Lodge, to the Canadian Section, and to the Theosophical Society throughout the world.
After the candlelight Installation ceremony, the General Secretary presented membership diplomas to Earle T. Bradfield, Mrs. Hazel Brook, Mr. Joseph Brook and Mr. Jan Golumski and received applications for membership from Mrs. Isabelle Brewerton, Mrs. Sarah Campbell and Mr. Stanley Gainham.
Unanimous approval was given to the General Seeretary's petitioning that the
present cruel methods of slaughtering animals at abattoirs be abolished, and more humane methods be instituted.
- Kathleen Marks, President, Phoenix Lodge.
GREETINGS FOR THE COMING SEASON
Christmas and New Year are in the offing - yet even so it may appear that we are somewhat premature in formulating our good wishes so far ahead. However, as our magazine is a bimonthly, which entails that the last issue of the year be printed in November and the following one in January, the November-December issue thus becomes the logical one in which to convey the customary greetings.
But I must confess that I find difficulty in formulating a greeting which will express my thoughts in these strenuous times. We are bewildered with the coming of the atomic age with its tremendous potentialities for good and evil. We see humanity travelling precariously along a narrow causeway over an abyss, and seemingly unable to escape from the situation. It is a time to remember the Theosophical teaching that, although humanity may suffer disaster after disaster, the soul of man is immortal and the great scheme of evolution will go on nevertheless. Humanity is being put to the supreme test and is now in the crucible. How we will come out of that test, time alone will show. It is now up to each one of us, more than ever before to so order and govern our lives, our thoughts, our ideals and aspirations, that we will not only survive the test but through it will acquire a deeper capacity to serve the cause of all humanity.
With these thoughts in mind I say to all Theosophists, be of Good Cheer, may the true Christmas spirit pervade us all, and may the coming year hasten the coming of a New Order with Peace and Goodwill to all men.
- E. L. T.
THE SECRET DOCTRINE
In our July-August issue there was reprinted an article by Mr. Bertram Keightley on the writing of The Secret Doctrine. In the introductory comments attention was drawn to the mystery of the missing original third and fourth volumes which have never been published. Madame Blavatsky stated that the third volume was completed and the fourth almost so, but according to some accounts the manuscripts of these were not among the pile of papers in her study after her death.
Corroboration of the existence of the third volume at least has been found by Mrs. E. Fielding of the H.P.B. Library in North Vancouver, in a review of Clothed With the Sun by Anna Bonus Kingsford which appeared in Lucifer for August 1889. Presumably the review was written by Mrs. Besant who had joined the Society shortly before that date and who in September 1889 was coeditor with H.P.B. in the publication of that journal. The quotation reads: "And to crown all she (Anna Kingsford) gives in the remarkable passages on pages 127 and 128 an account of the composition of the Gospels in the library of Alexandria which tallies accurately with what Madame Blavatsky wrote three years ago in the third volume of the `Secret Doctrine' which is not yet published." - Lucifer, Vol. 4, page 521 (italics ours).
It is questionable whether the reviewer was correct in writing "three years ago" - in 1886 H.P.B. sent the original manuscript of Vol. 1 to Colonel Olcott for his and Subba Row's perusal. This was later corrected and revised by
H.P.B. according to Old Diary Leaves (Vol. 3, page 385) but it is hardly likely that the manuscript of the third volume of The Secret Doctrine was completed at that time. However, the quotation does indicate that it was in existence prior to 1889.
The regular quarterly meeting of the General Executive was held in Toronto on Sunday, October 6th, 1957, the following members being present: Miss M. Hindsley, Messrs. C. E. Bunting, C. M. Hale, G. I. Kinman and the General Secretary. Mr. Barr attended as editor of the magazine.
The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. The Financial Statement, which showed a balance on hand of $2061.27, was also approved and the General Secretary was authorized to transfer $1000.00 into a deferred deposit account, or to purchase a bond. The General Secretary reported on his trip to Montreal. Other business of a routine nature was discussed and the meeting was adjourned at 4.30 p.m. The next meeting was arranged for January 12th, 1958.
THE WISDOM OF CONFUCIUS (Continued from Page 106)
Kingdom - called `the Middle Kingdom', by the way, because of the Sage's insistence upon the middle way - balance, sanity, `nothing in excess.'
The teachings and example which Confucius gave to his people during his days of shortlived worldly triumph were indeed a beaconlight in an age of anarchy and moral breakdown, such as thoughtful observers see everywhere in the world around us today. But the picture which he cast upon the screen of time of a state rightly governed by an Adept - a philosopher, `a statesman, a bard, an historian, and an antiquary rolled into one' - this picture by itself without the dark background of his years of frustration and heartache, would probably have faded from the memory of the people of Chu Hia during the troublous centuries that were to follow before the vision of Laotse and the sanative restraints of Confucius were become the heritage of the Black-Haired People - the one to make them great as individuals, the other to make them a great nation, so that in the days of the Hans, the T'angs and the Sungs, China rode upon the very crestwave of evolution. Dr. Morris calls the age of Asian greatness, between the Fifth and Thirteenth Centuries of our era, `the brightest cycle in recorded history.'
But it was the example which Master K'ung set during the long years of his exile and wandering from state to state, `his serene and courageous bearing in many a strange and perilous situation,' that carved his ideals in granite and jade and adamant in the hearts and memories of the Chinese people.
"Tzu Lu once passed the night in Shih-men, where the gate-keeper said to him: Where do you come from? - Tzu Lu replied: From the school of Confucius. - Oh, is he not the man, said the other, who is trying to do what he knows to be impossible?" (1). Is not that what all the Great Teachers have done - tried to do the impossible - and, in some measure succeeded? That is what the Master Kung did for the Chinese people.
I close this paper with a passage from Kenneth Morris which expresses, far better than I can, an adequate appreciation of the Master's lofty stature:
"Time and the world went proving to him year by year that his theories were all impracticable, all wrong; that he was a failure; that there was not anything for him to do, and never
would be a chance for him to do it; and all their arguments, all the sheer dreadful tyranny of fact, had no weight with him at all: he went on and on. What was his sword of strength? Where were the Allies in whom he trusted? How dared he pit Wung Ch'iu of Lu against time and the world and men? - The Unseen was with him, and the Silence; and he (perhaps) lifted no veil from the Unseen, and kept silent as to the Silence; - and yet maintained his Movement, and held his disciples together, and saved his people - as if he himself had been the Unseen made visible, and the Silence given a voice to speak." (6).
(5) The Conduct of Life or The Universal Order of Confucius. John Murray, London.
(6) The Theosophical Path, Vol. xviii, No. 2, February, 1920.
By F. Pierce Spinks, F.T.S.
(An Address Delivered at the Convention of the Theosophical Society in America (Adyar), at Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.A., on July 15, 1957.)
Sixty-two years ago a schism rent the Theosophical Movement. And yet, one month before she died, H.P. Blavatsky addressed an eloquent plea to the American Section, in Convention assembled, to remain united as the proverbial bundle of sticks. "United," she said, "there is no force on earth able to destroy our brotherhood." "Divided," she added, "they will inevitably be broken, one by one."
An examination of the period following the first schism in 1895 reveals that within a short time the Movement was divided into 22 different groups, each calling itself theosophical, each claiming devotion to Brotherhood as its chief aim, each deriving its inspiration from H.P.B.'s writings, and in most cases declaring itself either openly or subtly as the representative of the White Lodge. In some cases this claim went so far as to assert that the group in question was the exclusive representative of the White Lodge, thus inferentially placing all the other groups in the position of being spurious or at best of doubtful authenticity.
How would H.P.B. regard the present disunity in the Movement? Would the White Lodge approve of the existence of different societies, calling themselves theosophical, who do not even speak to each other officially? What would they recommend in order to correct a condition so patently inimical to the rationale of the Movement? What is being done now to correct the situation?
You will be glad to know that the problem is being examined with the determination to correct what is an obvious violation of H.P.B.'s expressed wish. From this examination a project has evolved, calling for a complete reunification of all theosophical societies, into one Society, as in the days of H.P.B. and Col. Olcott. Its scope is to embrace all units having the Brotherhood of all men as their goal and having objects similar to those of the Parent Society. For there is danger in the disunited condition of the Movement today, a danger which could lead to disintegration, if the fissiparous tendencies now in vogue are not checked. It is a case as Tennyson once said, of
"the little rift within the lute,
That by and by will make the music mute,
And ever widening slowly silence all."
It sometimes happens that when we are members of a particular group, we fail to properly observe or appreciate the activities of a similar character in other groups. This happened in my case. My theosophical parents placed me at the age of two in Katherine Tingley's theosophical school at Point Loma. I received most of my education there. I seriously believed that my group was the best. But on growing up some of us found it difficult to reconcile professions of brotherhood, with an absence of whole-hearted practice of it in our interrelations with other theosophical groups. This troubled our young minds.
On leaving the Point Loma school and university to engage in business in San Francisco I tried to promote the interests of the Point Loma T.S. by giving monthly lectures on theosophy and by assuming the office of President of the San Francisco Lodge. From earliest childhood the fortunes of the Theosophical Movement have been of the utmost moment to me. Success for the Theosophical Society and a vast growth for its membership have been the fondest of my hopes - above all business fortune and personal happiness.
During the war the apparently irreconcilable differences above referred to, were dramatized for me, as I was constantly travelling for the State Department and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), and met, as if by chance, members, of other theosophical groups. These encounters kept recurring, in the Near East, in Europe and later in the Orient, and I found myself becoming acquainted with men and women equally as devoted to the Movement's ideals and almost passionately interested in its future progress, just as were my friends and members in the Point Loma Society.
I then began to think seriously of the meaning of my travels and of my meeting members of other theosophical societies. It seemed to me that the circumstances which brought me these meetings in so many lands were not fortuitous, but were part of the working out of a plan. The more I brooded over it the more convinced I became that this was so. From this evolved the concept of a reunited Theosophical Movement.
When this vision flashed before me in 1948 I began a series of letters to Colonel A.L. Conger, then leader of the Point Loma Society, urging him to merge our society with the Parent Society of Adyar. My efforts, continued over a three-year period, were unsuccessful. Convinced, however, that the project for reuniting all groups was right, and knowing that I would have no inner peace until I could put the plan before the rank and file theosophist, I determined to do so, and during successive months set my thoughts down in a book which will be published soon under the title, Theosophists: Reunite! The effort in this book is to point to a return of the Movement to the integrity of "The Original Program of the T.S." as set forth by H.P.B. in that document written in 1886; and the discussions revolve around this Program as its axis.
The book points out that the cause of the first schism was a clash of strong wills and personalities. It had no belief basis. But later theosophists have mistakenly affirmed that disunity is due to a difference in teaching between the groups. This affirmation, we find, does not conform to the rationale of the Movement itself nor to the Original Program written by our first Teacher.
The Founders were specific in their invitation to people of all beliefs to join the Society. This brought together in one Society the professors of such widely differing faiths as Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and even the theosophists could join the Society, whether they accepted all or even only a part of the teachings, while holding other beliefs which were opposed to theosophy. Thus no distinction was made in those days between x-theosophy and y-theosophy. Acceptance of the Brotherhood plank was the sole condition of their membership. It is the unique genius, almost its raison d'etre, that the Society assembles onto one platform, into one Brotherhood, people of dissimilar beliefs. The book points out, therefore, that some of the theosophists of today are in uncomfortable disagreement with the Founders themselves, and the broad platform which they erected. It suggests that this is a case which George Orwell would term `double think' - a term he coined to describe the power of holding two mutually antagonistic ideas in the mind simultaneously which accepting both of them.
The book states that those who attack brother theosophists on the belief level, do so in the sincere conviction that they are thereby rendering a service to the Cause of Theosophy. But we as confidently assert that these attacks are unwarranted and do not take into account the rationale of the Movement and the Three Objects of the Society. The Theosophical Society Must Stand On Its Objects. These provide abroad platform on which all are welcome - the so-called "pure-theosophists" and the "not-"pure-theosophists," as well as the professors of all faiths, provided they conform to the well-known requirements.
It is pointed out that we have been reluctant to deal with our inter-relatedness problem. Until now this has been under a sort of taboo, probably because unrealistically we do not care to admit that things with ugly characteristics could exist side by side with the things of beauty to be found in our philosophy. But ignoring a problem does not solve it. And anyway we believe in Theodore Roosevelt's principle that "Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords." The problem can be solved. It will not get bogged down in any fantasies because those of us who are interested in the ideal have no Basic Assumptions which could conflict with the attainment of our goal. We object to the present disunity because it moves contrary to our main profession. Separateness, uncommunicativeness, non-cooperation between theosophists are inherently censurable, reprehensible and should be shunned as an affront to the brotherhood plank. This contitutes a serious problem in the Movement and the evil which is produced must now be and hereby is challenged. We propose that all groups shall reunite first, and then make the Theosophcal home fit for all the estranged members of the family. Thus, answering the first two questions posed above, we affirm that the White Lodge and the Founders would strongly disapprove of the present disunity. It might be said that a fundamental proposition of the present effort is that anything which partakes of disharmony is ipso facto not connected with the White Lodge. Does any theosophist really believe that the White Lodge is disunited? We base our proposition upon the principle of logic which says that an idea is necessarily true, when, to assume the contrary, is absurd. We affirm that the White Lodge now wants a return to unity, fellowship, and inter-relatedness among all theosophists of all affiliations, for to assert the contrary would be absurd and contrary to
the structure of the Movement itself.
The theosophists of today are facing an entirely different world than their predecessors of 60-odd years ago. That was the era of rugged individualism, the era which spawned the schisms. Today is the era of cooperative endeavor, with the world compelled by advances in science, to move away from the outmoded type of separative thinking. It is the era when we are compelled to sit down and talk to each other. Others are doing it in a big way. Gigantic church mergers are taking place. The bastions of religious intolerance are crumbling all along the religious front. Why, then, do the theosophists lag in this race towards coherence, inter-relatedness and strength? Numerically we are just holding our own - not growing with the world's population. What is wrong? We are static, but Brotherhood is dynamic. Its dynamism is proved when we practice it. Are we living up to our preaching when we remain divided as we are? When we speak of brotherhood yet cannot be brothers individually? When we profess brotherhood and fail to make it collective and all-embracing?
We now believe that the rank-and-file theosophist longs to see a reconciiation effected among ALL groups of theosophists. We therefore challenge the present lack of unity and propose to fight for a return to the integrity of H.P.B.'s Original Program, when the members embracing widely divergent beliefs all worked together on one platform, in one Society, toward one goal, effectively. This was the era of the greatest build-up in the Society, percentage-wise. We feel that the assumption that all groups and all theosophists can work together as in H.P.B.'s day, is a VALID ASSUMPTION and one which should be in daily use by the modern theosophists as it was in H.P..B.'s time. It is the real basis upon which the Theosophical Society was founded.
If you say it is a question of loyalties, we reply that if present loyalties produce an undesirable pattern, a tree which is known by unpleasant fruit, then when its bad taste is pointed out, the theosophist will be intelligent enough to submerge lesser loyalties into the larger loyalty to the White Lodge and the pattern which they first established. It is quite proper to question our loyalties. It is proper to question everything that produces animosities and leads us away from our goal of Universal Brotherhood. Should we become rigid in these 'loyalties' to the point where we cannot recognize that they are less useful than a greater loyalty which conforms to the Original Program of the T.S., to the Masters and to H.P.B.? It is wise to reflect on the fact that the Masters did not request loyalty to themselves, but loyalty only to the ideals they espoused. Should it not then be ALARMING to us if any of our leaders should call upon us to show a loyalty to personalities, past or present, which overrides and submerges the grander loyalty directly indicated by the Masters? As to the extent that the non-discouragement of these loyalties acts as a boon to the personalities of the leaders, there need be no comment.
Any group organized to promote Brotherhood, must promote arrangements which will encourage love and diminish hates. It is not fair to a new student to lead him in any way except one which would have the approval of the White Lodge. It is true that our remarks do not apply equally to all units in the Movement, but it is also true that all of us have made some mistakes, and every unit too has contributed something towards the total progress thus far made. Errare humanum est; perseverare demoniacum. It is the last two
words that need special emphasis, for though we have all made errors, individually and collectively, perseverance in error on our part should be avoided by all means, since that is distinctly a characteristic of `the enemy' alluded to so often by H.P.B.
Those interested in this project want very much to be apostles of goodwill and harmony among all theosophists. We feel strongly that the first schism was an error of the first magnitude and a triumph for `the enemy'. Universal Brotherhood cannot be preached effectively by people who are disunited. Only a truly united Theosophical Movement can hope to take its place in a world challenged as never before by dynamic forces. We must constantly test every aspect of our theosophical relations by the spirit of our central undertaking - Brotherhood. There is no division so great but what it cannot be transcended if the will to do so is strong enough.
The book, then, might be classed as Phase No. 2 of the reunification effort, Phase No. 1 having closed in 1951 with the death of Colonel Conger, leader of the Point Loma T.S. Phase No. 3 comprises a number of visits with other groups, of theosophists, two of which were surprisingly successful. There have also been visits with some of the leaders of the United Lodge of Theosophists. I personally invited several of them to our Convention in Wheaton, Illinois, this year. My invitations were not accepted, perhaps due to lack of time on their part. Contacts of this nature will continue, despite the somewhat meagre results so far achieved. Phase No. 4 will come as the ideas in the book take root. The members will read the book and start asking and answering questions. They will, it is confidently believed, reject the present situation because it is unsound, theosophically speaking. I now stand before you and seek your advice and help in solving this problem. At the same time I wish most earnestly to thank you for the courtesy you have shown in inviting me to your platform and in listening to my presentation. It is in the deepest good faith that I have spoken, and with the profound wish alone to serve the best interests of the Theosophical Movement.
Briefly, then, to summarize. Honest observation cannot fail to impress us with the fact that the Movement in many ways has been the playground of the destructive powers. While much progress has been made, it is sad to contemplate how much more could have been achieved had we remained united. For as H.P.B. said to the American Convention of 1889:
"Is this `Separateness' consonant with the united Altruism of Universal Brotherhood? Is this the teaching of our noble Masters? Brothers and Sisters in America, it is in your hands to decide whether it shall be realized or not..... `Union is Strength'; and for every reason private differences must
be sunk in united work for our Great Cause."
How then, can the proponents of the status quo, if any there be, reconcile the disunity in the Movement today, with H.P.B.'s express injunction that we remain united?
We have the responsibility to see that the future of the Movement shall be a blessing and not a bane. We have the responsibility to see that all who touch it shall find in it a benediction. By reuniting we shall become conscious of enrichment amounting to spiritual gain. Union will provide an increment of resources. It will be like the confluence of several streams. Together they have power.
So let us saturate everything we do with the spirit of love and brotherhood.
We, the members of the Theosophical Society, shall then speak with power and authority because we shall be daily demonstrating that which we profess. We have an obligation to the coming generation of theosophists and to those now unborn to bequeath to them a Movement soundly structured in accord with the vision of the Founders, one free of resentments, party lines, or any form of bitterness. It must be a Movement wholly fit for use by them. The program that lies ahead is too important and grand in scope to be circumscribed with limitations imposed by human weaknesses and mere local loyalties.
Embracing this program, the Theosophical Society will then be worthy of use by Messengers who will use its platform for dispelling ignorance - Messengers who will be recognized because all their works will breathe beneficence and peace. Non-cooperation and disunity mean disintegration and death. Unification and harmony mean growth and vital expansion beyond our fondest dreams.
In the well-known Honolulu shop called Ming's, we learn that a pearl is grown by inserting a tiny grain of irritating sand in the oyster. It is our hope that the ideal of a reunited Theosophical Society, irritating though it may at first be to some who prefer the status quo, will eventually produce the pearl of a reunited Movement, a Movement worthy of use by the White Lodge, one whose voice will be strongly heard in the Councils of the Nations, one which will have depth and weight, inner health and coherence.
The constructive forces which ceiling the Movement we love, are, we feel, beamed to this point in theosophical history. This is the opportunity we have been waiting for: To cleanse the Movement of its unsatisfactory features, so that the excellence which is contained in each scattered fragment may burgeon forth. Only in this way, we believe, can the Movement rendezvous with its high destiny; only in this way can the Masters again come among us and help us; only in this way can the Theosophical Society shine on the pages of religious history as a tool of high importance to solve the troubled affairs of men and relieve the mountainous sea of misery which besets humanity. Who among us can answer Nay to this challenge? Shall we move forward to vastly increased opportunities for service and far greater increase in numbers of members, or shall we remain satisfied with isolationism and uncommunicativeness?
The challenge is now made. The Theosophists must stand, up and be counted. Whose ends will you serve?
(N.B. - Though this talk was actually given at the above-mentioned Convention, it is in reality addressed to the theosophists of all affiliations throughout the world. Copies are being sent to all Theosophical Societies, Lodges and members whose names and addresses are available, with the request that it be given publicity among the members of all affiliations.
Those interested in the project are invited to write to the speaker:
F. Pierce Spinks 1086 Bush Street San Francisco 9, Calif., U.S.A.
It will greatly help the project if interested members will send us names and addresses of individuals and Lodges of whatever affiliation, so that we might send them informative releases from time to time. This help will be greatly appreciated.)
Candles in the Sun by Lady Emily Lutyens, published 1957 by Rupert Hart-Davis, London, 196 pp. with index, 10 illustrations, price $5.00. Canadian Agents, British Books Service (Canada) Ltd., Toronto, Ont.
Lady Emily Lutyens, [grandaugther ?] of Lord Bulwer Lytton, joined the Theosophical Society in 1910 and left it in 1930. During those twenty years she was closely associated with ally the prominent members of those days, she travelled and lectured extensively, and her time, energy and all the devotion of her intense, emotional nature was given to the Society and its leaders. While the book does not unveil the entire history of the period - for much has been left out of matters well known to Lady Emily - her work impresses one as being honest and accurate; the many quotations from the author's diaries and letters of those years, together with the factual nature of her writing, support its authenticity.
It is a tragic book for it deals with an era in the history of the Society when the message of the Masters and H.P.B was lightly brushed aside and was replaced by a pseudo-theosophy based upon the alleged psychic revelations of Mr. Leadbeater and others. It is questionable whether Lady Emily ever read any of H.P.B.'s writings or ever had a glimmer of what theosophy really is. On pages 19-22 the author sets out what is described as `a very over-simplified account of the chief Theosophical beliefs'. The Society has no beliefs. Lady Emily apparently never understood the Society's fundamental position of freedom from dogma, beliefs and creeds, for until Krishnamurti's teachings forced her to use discrimination, she had an astonishing capacity to believe anything. Her Theosophical `beliefs' were complicated by many neo-theosophical garnishments, and while a Blavatsky student will be able to recognize some familiar words and phrases, he will be shocked or amused, depending upon his temperament, at the rococo embellishments with which Mr. Leadbeater sought to decorate the ancient wisdom.
Lady Emily came into the Society when Krishnamurti was being hailed as the coming World Teacher and the stage was being set for the elaborate organization which Mrs. Besant and Mr. Leadbeater attempted to build around him. To Mr. Leadbeater's credit it must be admitted that he saw clearly in recognizing unusual spiritual qualities in the young boy. If he had been content to predict future greatness for the lad, he would later have been regarded as a prophet. Instead, extravagant claims were made and in keeping with these, the coming Teacher had to be launched upon his career with worldwide publicity and attended by retinues of Hierarchs, Initiates and Apostles - and with an organized church all ready to preach his gospel before he had even announced it. Lady Emily was in the heart of all this. She was devoted to Krishnamurti and in Candles in the Sun she tells the inner story of his awakening to manhood and putting aside the mask of the marionette which had been superimposed upon him.
Krishnamurti repudiated the whole elaborate setup as soon as his maturing consciousness broke through the web of illusion which had been woven around him. This required unusual courage, among other high qualities, for Krishnamurti had been nurtured from childhood on the unrealities of psychism. He was bound by ties of strong affection for Mrs. Besant and other leaders in the Society. Until he found himself, he had given tacit and open acceptance to some of those unrealities and had also accept-
ed the worldwide Order of the Star whose members looked upon him as the coming Teacher. His courageous act caused consternation in the Society - `the Coming had gone wrong' - and he was charged with being under the influence of `Black forces'; actually he had escaped from the black and distorting shadows of unreality. He taught a doctrine directly contrary to that which was expected of him by the neo-Theosophists. Liberation was the goal and Liberation was not to be found in `shelters of comfort'. "Truth does not give hope; it gives understanding . . . The time has come when you must no longer compromise with Truth, when you must no longer subject yourselves to authority . . . all your systems, your philosophies, your half-truths must go in order to find the Eternal. I do not want to have followers . . . I abhor the very idea of anyone calling himself my disciple. Be rather the disciple of that understanding which is the fruit of ripe thought and great love; be the disciple of your own understanding." He dissolved the Order of the Star and returned to its former owner, Castle Eerde with its five thousand acre estate near Ommen, Holland, which had been given to him by Baron van Pallandt.
If Krishnamurti had been an ordinary member and not the long acclaimed World Teacher his words might not have raised a ripple on the smooth lake of complacency which surrounded the ivory tower in which the Adyar Society dwelt. But the acclaimed Teacher had spoken and his words had a devastating effect. Through his achieving to freedom, he had enabled others to find freedom also. Thousands of members who had been caught up in the psychic current without thinking of where it was carrying them, awoke from the illusion. Many resigned from the Society or quietly dropped out, the membership rolls show a loss of some fifteen thousand members during the following five years. Mrs. Besant, who loved Krishnamurti like a mother and who firmly believed that he was the World Teacher, was dazed and stricken, but had the courage to say, "Follow the Teacher." She closed the E.S. which, she said, was no longer necessary now that the Teacher had come. Later this was revived at the urging of Mr. Jinarajadasa who felt that it was a means of discipline necessary for the members. That it was also a means of exercising control over the members may have had something to do with his insistence.
While Krishnamurti is the central figure, many other persons appear in the book, Mrs. Besant, Mr. Leadbeater, Mr. George Arundale, Mr. Jinarajadasa, Bishop J.I. Wedgwood and others prominent in the Society, and they and their `teachings' and `revelations' are portrayed with almost naive honesty by the author. What was done and said is quoted directly from her diaries and thus the prevailing attitude of the day is recaptured. Sometimes in reading the book one wonders whether even now Lady Emily half-believes that some of the fairy stories were true - or wishes that they might have been. But her letter of resignation from the Society (pages 177-182) makes it quite clear that she had escaped from the glamor.
One can only wonder why so many members accepted with unthinking credulity the absurdities which were put forward as `Theosophy', - and why their own commonsense did not alert them to the pettiness, jealously, desire for place, power and glory and the pathological self-centred egotism so rampant among those in power. Lady Emily had a sincere affection and respect for Mrs. Besant but observed that she was being imposed upon by others and states that "Mrs. Besant never did anything but confirm what others told her" (on
psychic matters). The author's first impression of Mr. Leadbeater (1912) was that "his great idea was to avoid being bothered - he had no feeling and is only bored by suffering and trouble." Later she evidently came to have more respect for him, but saw his weaknesses. Speaking of the non-acceptance of Krishnamurti's doctrines by Mr. Leadbeater and other Theosophical leaders, she writes: ". . . I think the reason for it was that there was no longer any place for him or for the other T.S. leaders in Krishna's teaching. There was no place in it for favoritism or privilege, for power or ceremony; no place any more for `interpreters' or psychic revelations, and C.W.L. just could not let go of power even at the age of eighty-two."
Lady Emily herself is now over eighty years of age and in the preparation of this book she was assisted by her daughter, Mary, who was also involved in many of the events recorded there. One character who moves through the background of the book is Lady Emily's husband, Sir Edwin Lutyens, whose letters reveal him as a man of almost superhuman patience, kindliness and understanding in his acceptance of Lady Emily's twenty years of long absences from her home and children and of her constant activity and feverish excitement in her `obsessional desire for spiritual advancement'.
Candles in the Sun records the story of a blight which almost destroyed the Society and whose effects are still with us. These are part of the Karma of the Society and those who are members of that Society must accept this Karma even though they were not individually involved. It goes without saying that this book is a complete vindication of the attitude of those in Canada, and notably the late Mr. A.E.S. Smythe, former General Secretary and Editor of The Canadian Theosophist, in their vigorous protest against the actions and teachings of the leaders of those days.
This book should be circulated widely among all members of the Society. It will bring further ridicule upon the Society from the public, but for the members it will help to destroy the myth of neo-Theosophy created by Mr. Leadbeater et al. It reveals what Theosophy is not and by doing so it may influence the members to return to the study of the ageless and unshakeable Theosophy set forth in the original teachings of the Masters and H.P. Blavatsky.
- D. W. B.
"THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT"
It is encouraging to find a Theosophical magazine which increases in size as the years roll by. So often today many magazines find it necessary to reduce size or to curtail the number of issues published in a year.
The Theosophical Movement of Bombay, India, is one of the best Theosophical magazines now being published. It ably and whole-heartedly supports the Theosophy of H.P.B. and the Masters and that it has found ever-increasing support among a growing body of readers is due to the quality and character of its articles. It has gradually grown from a four-page issue in 1930-31 to a twenty-four page and it now proposes to increase to a forty-page issue commencing November 1957. There will be an increase to the modest sum of $2.00 per annum, post free, in the subscription rate; this is only partly due to the increased size as the cost of labor and materials has also increased.
Subscribers are requested to send their remittances by International Money Order to "Theosophy Co. (India) Private Ltd., 51 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Bombay 1, India.
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.
THE H. P. B. LIBRARY, 750 GRAND BOULEVARD NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.
BLAVATSKY INSTITUTE PUBLICATIONS
- ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPEL by H. P. Blavatsky.
- THE EVIDENCE OF IMMORTALITY by Dr. Jerome A. Anderson.
- MODERN THEOSOPHY by Claude Falls Wright.
- THE BHAGAVAD GITA, A Conflation by Albert E.S. Smythe.
These four books are cloth bound, price $1 each.
- THE EXILE OF THE SOUL by Professor Roy Mitchell has been published in book form. Attractively bound in yellow cover stock. This sells at the price of $1.00.
- THROUGH TEMPLE DOORS - Studies in Occult Masonry, by Roy Mitchell, an occult interpretation of Masonic Symbolism.
- THEOSOPHY IN ACTION, by Roy Mitchell, a re-examination of Theosophical ideas, and their practical application in the work.
- THEOSOPHIC STUDY, by Roy Mitchell, a book of practical guidance in methnods of study.
The above four books are attractively bound; papperbound $1.00, cloth, $1.50.
- COURSE IN PUBLIC SPEAKING, By Roy Mitchell. Especially written for Theosophical students, $3.00.
- THEOSOPHY, AN ATTITUDE TOWARD LIFE, by Dudley Barr. 50c.
- CALGARY LODGE: Address enquiries to Mr. Stanley Elliott, No. 3, 1735 College Lane, Calgary, Alta.
- 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.
- PHOENIX LODGE, HAMILTON: Mrs. Robert Marks, 447 Gage Ave., South, Vice-President
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- 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, 262 Sheldrake Blvd., Toronto 12 (phone Mohawk 5346). Recording Secretary, Miss Laura Gaunt. Lodge Rooms 52 Isabella Street, Toronto 5, Ont.
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- VICTORIA LODGE: Apply to Mrs. W. Gilmour, 2540 Cotswold Road, Victoria
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