Vol. XXXIX, No. 5 Toronto, Nov.-Dec., 1958 Price 35 Cents
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YOU WILL COME BACK
A Conversation about Reincarnation and Karma
Mr. Asketh: You said we had been the men and women of previous civilizations, I'd like to know more about that.
Student: In all the great religions of the world, the life of man is held to be a pilgrimage. This is not just from the cradle to the grave; it is through millions and millions of years. As he is a spiritual being, the continuity of his existence is unbroken. Nations and civilizations rise, grow old, decline, disappear, but the Pilgrim lives on, the witness and participator in the innumerable changes. He has radiated like a spark from the Central Fire, and he gathers experience in many civilizations. But he is primarily engaged in a pilgrimage back to his Source.
Carlyle put it well:
"The essence of our being, the mystery in us that calls itself "I" - what words have we for such things - it is a breath of heaven, the highest Being reveals himself in man. This body, these faculties, this life of ours, is it not all as a vesture for the UNNAMED?"
It would take us too far afield today to discuss it in detail, but just remember that man is a sevenfold creature according to the ancient wisdom, and that he is evolving through seven races over vast periods of time. Most of present humanity are Fourth Race people, Mongolians. We belong to the Fifth, Aryan Race.
Mr. Asketh: If I recall correctly, St. Paul describes man as triple in nature - spirit, soul and body. (Thess. 5:23).
Student: That is correct. The esoteric instruction subdivides those three aspects of man mentioned by St. Paul. First of all, there is Spirit, the Indivisible All. The other six are the vehicles, the bodies, which enable Spirit to function on different planes of consciousness.
Mr. Asketh: In the race classification you've mentioned, where do the North American Indians and our own Canadian Eskimos belong?
Student: They are included in the broad term "Mongolian" along with the Japanese, the Chinese, Malays, Tibetans, and a number of other smaller groups. Our Fifth Race, which includes also all the nations of Europe, became a distinctly defined race about one million years ago in Asia. We can come back to these details sometime later. For the moment, however, it will be useful for you to know that the great civilization of the Fourth (Atlantean) Race failed.
Mr. Asketh: What do you mean "failed?" How does a race fail? I know individuals may prove too weak to live up to their ideals. Can that be true collectively also?
Student: Yes. It is the working out of
the karmic law. The divine Teachers and Guides of child-humanity help it as a mother teaches her babe to walk. Then, gradually, she withdraws her support to see if it is able to make its own steps and use its own limbs. The Atlantean civilization was great in its social order, in its strength and wisdom, but when the divine Teachers withdrew, the civilization broke into pieces under the selfishness of man and his yet unconquered lower instincts.
Mr. Asketh: Are you speaking about the peoples who lived on what is now called the lost continent of Atlantis?
Student: Yes. For centuries, the world has been intrigued by the Flood story, and the Atlantis theory. There is Plato's account, and there is the recent reprint of Ignatius Donnelly's book, Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, which describes the drowned continent. Donnelly's work was first published in 1882 and so great has been the growing interest in Atlantis that Harper's republished it in 1949, adding scientific information to bring it up to date. The Atlantis literature, of course, consists of some 5,000 works in 20 languages, but for a brief, authoritative account, read Donnelly. Egerton Sykes, who edited the new American edition, is an outstanding Atlantean scholar.
Mr. Asketh: Is it possible to place Atlantis in the geological timescale? When did the continent exist and when did it sink?
Student: To answer your first question, Atlantis belonged to Miocene times. Geologically speaking, that's fairly recent because geologists now claim that the earth originated about 41/2 billion years ago. So a stretch of 11,000 to 200,000 to 850,000 years is merely a yesterday. The sinking of Atlantis began during the Miocene period and the disappearance of the largest continent was coincident with the elevation of the Alps. By the way, an excellent short booklet that you can buy for four shillings from the British Museum is The Succession of
Life Through Geological Time, by two English geologists. Atlantis is shown on two of the four colored maps in the booklet.
Mr. Asketh: Just where on the present map of the world would Atlantis be placed?
Student: The last remnant of Atlantis - the large island called Poseidonis by Plato - existed in the Atlantic Ocean opposite the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea. The record is that it was submerged 11,000 years ago, approximately 9,564 B.C.
Mr. Asketh: Apparently it was a huge continent that broke up and sank bit by bit.
Student: Let me read to you from the record:
"The huge continent we call Atlantis, the continent of the Fourth Race, named Kusha in the occult records, embraced northern Asia - untouched, as said, from Lemurian times - stretching far to the north of the great sea, now the Gobi Desert; it extended eastwards, in a solid block of land, including China and Japan, and passed beyond them across the present northern Pacific Ocean, till it almost touched the western coast of North America; southwards it covered India and Ceylon, Burmah, and the Malay peninsula, and westwards included Persia, Arabia and Syria, the Red Sea and Abyssinia, occupying the basin of the Mediterranean, covering southern Italy and Spain, and, projecting from Scotland and Ireland, then above the waters, into what is now sea, it stretched westwards, covering the present Atlantic Ocean and a large part of North and South America.
The catastrophe which rent it, in the mid-Miocene, about four million years ago, into seven islands, of varying size, brought to the surface Norway and Sweden, much of southern Europe, Egypt, nearly all Africa, and much of North America, while sinking northern Asia, and breaking Atlantis off from the Imperishable Sacred Land. The lands later called
Ruta and Daitya, the present bed of the Atlantic, were rent away from America, but a great belt of land still connected them, a belt submerged in the catastrophe of 850,000 years ago, in the later Pliocene, leaving the two lands as separate islands. These, again, perished, some 200,000 years ago, leaving Poseidonis in the midst of the Atlantic."
Mr. Asketh: You spoke of the Flood story. Do you mean the flood mentioned in the Bible?
Student: The book of Genesis story of the Flood plainly refers to the destruction of Atlantis. It's important to realize that a belief in the authenticity of the Old Testament automatically requires belief in Atlantis. You'll discover that there are deluge legends among many nations, and the majority of them can be fitted into a pattern.
Mr. Asketh: You mean Noahs by other names, and the survival of a selected few, etc.?
Student: With many variations on the main theme, yes. As the Atlanteans had failed, another attempt had to be made. Continents may sink but life must go on evolving. So again the divine Rulers founded a civilization; again humanity - ours - was given a pattern; again the race was shown a type toward which it should evolve. Then once more the great Teachers drew back to let humanity again try its own strength; again experiment to see if it were strong enough to walk alone, guided only by the Self within.
Mr. Asketh: If we are more than halfway in the fifth of seven races, doesn't that mean that we have turned the upward curve and are on the home stretch? Hasn't our Fifth Race done better than the Atlanteans?
Student: That is the same as saying, haven't we done better this time than last time, because we and the Europeans are the reincarnated Atlanteans. Whether we have done better this time is too large a question for me to answer. We have had hideous wars and right now Western democracy presents a frightening parallel to the last days of the Roman Empire. On balance, though, there are some hopeful signs even though we may be doing right for the wrong motives.
Mr. Asketh: I can see why you keep repeating that the loss of the truths about reincarnation and karma is so tragic.
Student: Bear in mind, too, that the loss brought with it that blasphemous teaching of an eternal hell. To escape from that nightmare, the theologians posited forgiveness for sinners. But what was needed was an explanation of the eternal truth about the Law of Cause and Effect and of Rebirth.
Mr. Asketh: Could you give me more details about karma, how it works out in the individual life?
Student: Everyone has three kinds of karma. First, that from the past incarnation not yet exhausted. Second, the karma you've made and are making in this life which may be felt during this life, or which may not come to fruition until future births. Then there is the third type of karma that is held over and doesn't come into operation in this life because the man and the environment don't furnish the appropriate means for bringing it into action. This is likened to vapor held in suspension in the atmosphere, invisible, but which will fall as rain the moment conditions are ripe.
Mr. Asketh: Where does heredity come into this?
Student: According to the ancient wisdom in the case of human incarnation, the law of karma, racial or individual, overrides heredity which is its servant. Family likenesses are generally explained as due to heredity, but what about the mental and moral differences within a family? Reincarnation explains the likenesses by the fact that karma directs a soul to parents who will provide by physical heredity a body suitable to express his characteristics, as, for instance, a nervous system necessary
for the expression of musical faculties. Reincarnation explains the unlikenesses by pointing out the difference in the mental and moral evolution of individuals. Each has had a distinctive past of his own and has learned, or not learned, certain lessons, and has set up ties in the past that drew him back to birth in that family. Science leaves all this unexplained. Nothing can explain it but reincarnation and karma. The child of a genius is often commonplace in intelligence, and then again parents of quite ordinary intelligence will give birth to a genius. Remember that the evolution of form and the evolution of life that ensouls the form are parallel processes. You get what you have earned. As St. Paul said, you reap what you've sown.
Mr. Asketh: Granted that reincarnation is true, when we die, where do we go; what becomes of us?
Student: Your question concerns the period between incarnations and where you spend it.
Mr. Asketh: You mean there is a gap between incarnations?
Student: I wouldn't call it a gap. When you eat a meal, you need time to digest it. The period between incarnations is analogous to that. You need time to assimilate what you experienced. Remember what Jesus said about not laying up for yourself treasure where moth and rust would corrupt, but to lay up treasure in heaven, for where your treasure was, there would your heart be also. This refers to the time between incarnations which, in Christian terms, you spend "in heaven." It is the subjective state in which each of us lives between two earth lives, after the death of the gross physical body. This period between incarnations is one of happiness.
Mr. Asketh: It seems to be right here on earth that we atone for misdeeds, where we reap what we've sown in error. How long does the happiness last?
Student: That depends on the degree of one's evolutionary development and spirituality. An average period is said to be from ten to fifteen centuries, though the stay in the heaven world is not a fixed one. It is the time of the flowering of the best and highest in our natures.
Mr. Asketh: I recall a verse in the Bible (I Cor. 15:26) that says the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. What about that?
Student: That is a good example of the teaching of the early church. Another statement along that same line is in Revelation 3:12, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out." The "going out", of course, refers to rebirth.
Let us take a look at the three worlds in which we continually live. We act in the physical world; we think in the world of the mind, and we are generating desires of various kinds all the time that work out on the plane of the desire world. Be sure of this: Thought is the most potent factor in the creation of human karma, thought and motive. In all of these three worlds, the chains that bind us are of our own forging. We can file them away or rivet them tighter. Your physical body, the house you live in, is of your own building. Your parents gave you the original model but you have been rebuilding it every seven years since you were born. Remember the Eastern proverb translated by Sir Edwin Arnold:
"Look! the clay dries into iron,
But the potter molds the clay;
Destiny today is master,
Man was master yesterday."
And in The Light of Asia; Arnold says this beautifully:
"Then spake he of that answer all must give
For all things done amiss or wrongfully,
Alone, each for himself, reckoning with that
The fixed arithmetic of the universe
Which meteth good for good, ill for ill,
Measure for measure unto deeds, words, thoughts,
Making all futures fruits of all the pasts."
Mr. Asketh: Life appears to many people as Shakespeare described it "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Without adequate explanation of the mystery of life and its seeming injustices, some people develop a deep sense of futility. Some of them respond by taking to drink or drugs or violence.
Student: It would help such people to know that life does have a purpose, that it isn't a tale told by an idiot. Think what would happen if they were told that they have made themselves what they are by their former lives, and that they're building their future by their present actions. How do you think they would respond if they knew their destiny, salvation or condemnation is in their own hands?
Mr. Asketh: The Grand Plan should be an inspiration to them. Wouldn't a knowledge of reincarnation and karma affect society generally - our prison system, for instance. I believe authorities are agreed that about all we do now is to help offenders get a post-graduate course in crime.
Student: Without doubt some enlightened efforts are being made to improve our penal system but not nearly enough is being done. There's no question about it, society must be protected from the vicious, but while we deprive the criminal of his liberty and try to teach him a useful trade, we could do more; we could help him to realize that the law of karma operates to his advantage or disadvantage depending upon himself.
Mr. Asketh: An impressive point is that no one can possibly evade that karmic law. Even though a man may manage to escape apprehension, he cannot escape capture by the karmic law. That should be a convincing argument that crime will never pay.
What about the long-term working of the karmic law? I'm thinking about those who engaged in the slave trade. Over 350 years they tore hundreds of thousands of men, women and children from everything and everybody they knew and loved and sold them into nameless misery. On the ships that took them from the coast of Africa, they were chained below deck, the dead often with the living, always under the lash of their Christian (!) owners. Here in America the karmic results of such cruelty must be appalling.
Student: You have put your finger on America's No. 1 karmic debt. Individually and nationally, those who ever had anything to do with the slave trade have paid and will continue to pay through generations. They will pay in taxes, in association, and in many other ways until the lessons of brotherhood - and retribution - sink in. Of course, those who discover the laws of karma and reincarnation will learn faster than the rest.
Before we leave this matter, it is interesting to consider what happened spiritually to the Negroes who were brought to America against their will. Howard Thurman* says that the Negro preacher was the greatest single factor in determining their spiritual destiny. [*Howard Thurman is Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Spiritual Disciplines at Boston University. He is the author of nine books dealing with the religion, philosophy and poetry of the Negro people. The grandson of a slave, Dr. Thurman writes with unusual insight.] It was the Negro preacher who worked in the slave communities and who opened the door of hope and courage and self-respect to the slaves. That their descendants can continue to believe that this is God's world and "to hold to this faith against disillusionment, despair and the vicissitudes of American history," as he puts it, is testi-
mony to greatness within the Negro people. In his book, Deep River, speaking of that mood of reverence that should characterize all of men's dealings with each other, he says:
"To deal with men on any other basis, to treat them as if there were not vibrant and vital in each one the very life of the very God, is the great blasphemy; it is the judgment that is levelled with such relentless severity on modern man."
Mr. Asketh: How right he is! Our whole worldwide civilization is being shaken to its foundation by this judgment Dr. Thurman speaks about. Brotherhood is still the stern and inescapable lesson that humanity must learn.
Student: An honest, whole-hearted understanding and acceptance of the laws of reincarnation and karma would help mightily. The widespread knowledge of these laws would completely change the character of our civilization, including the Christian faith.
For logic, consistency and profound philosophy, these teachings have no equal on earth.
Cerminara, Gina - Many Mansions, William Sloane Associates, 425 Fourth Ave., New York 16, N.Y. 10th Printing, 1957.
Cerminara, Gina - The World Within, William Sloane Associates, 425 Fourth Ave., New York 16, N.Y .
Donnelly, Ignatius - Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, Harper & Bros., New York, 1949. Illustrated.
Gifford, William Alva - The Story of the Faith, Macmillan Co., Toronto, Canada. Eighth Printing, 1956.
Gifford, William Alva - The Seekers, Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St., Boston 8, Mass. 1954.
Lewis, C.S. - Mere Christianity, Fontana Books. Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., 144 Cathedral St., Glasgow, C.4, Scotland. 1956.
Neill, Stephen - Christian Faith Today, Pelican Books, A377, Penguin Books (Canada) Ltd., 47 Green St., Saint Lambert, Montreal, P.Q. 1955.
Origen of Ceasarea - De Principiis (On First Principles), Ante-Nicene Christian Library, Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, Vol. X, The Writings of Origen. T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1869.
Oakley, Kenneth P., and Muirwood, H.M. - The Succession of Life Through Geological Time, The British Museum (Natural History), Cromwell Road, London, S.W.7, England. Fifth Printing, 1956. Illustrated, Tables, Plates, Maps.
Thurmond, Howard - Deep River, Harper & Bros., New York, 1955. Illustrated. This article is being published in pamphlet form and copies may be obtained from: The Book Steward, Theosophical Book Concern, 52 Isabella Street,
Toronto 5, Ontario.
THE THREE FACES OF EVE
Many readers will no doubt have seen the film (or read the book), "Three Faces of Eve". This tells the story of a certain Eve White, who came under psychiatric treatment for a neurotic condition, and, through hypnosis, was eventually restored to full health again (or so it was said at the time). The remarkable thing about the story in question was that the patient seemed to embody three entirely different individuals, called Eve White, Eve Black, and Jane. Eve White was the person usually in charge, and it was she who was in need of the psychiatric treatment. But, under hypnosis, it was found there was a second person called Eve Black, who took control at times, and whose character was entirely different from that of Eve White, who was a very inhibited
person, whereas Eve Black was just the opposite. In due course a third person became evident, designated Jane, and it was said at the time that Jane represented the mature individual which Eve White should have been, but was unable to become, because of the background presence of Eve Black. In other words, Eve Black was the cause of all Eve White's troubles; and once Jane had been fully established in her stead, (through hypnosis), then Eve Black disappeared altogether, and we were left with the impression that Eve White's troubles were all over, and another great victory had been achieved for modern hypnosis.
The book and film ended with the marriage of Jane to a very nice young man, and the two were living very happily together (Eve White having divorced her first husband, or he having divorced her.) But quite recently a sequel to this happy story has appeared in the press which is worth considering. (It should be noted that this is a genuine case, a living person, and the story is built up from tape recordings in the Psychiatrist's office, names of course were changed.)
It now appears that after a year or so, Jane was having just the same effect on Eve White, as Eve Black had had previously. And, as at the time Eve Black was blamed for everything that went wrong, - so now Jane was getting the blame! This seemingly mature and evolved individual was now `the nigger in the woodpile', as Eve Black had been formerly; but, we are told that further hypnotic treatment had now resolved this further difficulty, and Eve White was quite normal again and completely cured, and, everything was happy between her and her second husband (who, by the way, had found her trying to commit suicide and blaming it all on to Jane.)
The interesting thing about this case, from the theosophical standpoint, is first, that hypnotic treatment is here shown as patently not as effective as was thought to be, and proves once again H.P.B.'s rightness in her strictures about it. And secondly, we can see in Eve White someone who had persistently, through a number of lives probably, refused to face up to herself and accept the responsibility for her own shortcomings and actions; so that by this time a fully-fledged being had taken shape in her personality, on whom the blame for everything which went wrong in her life, was conveniently thrown. No amount of hypnotic treatment is going to resolve a situation like this, and the fact that Jane has failed to fill the position ascribed to her in the book and film, amply shows the truth of this.
Hypnotic treatment takes away the will-power of the patient during treatment, and then tries to hand it back again afterwards. But it is extremely difficult for a person who has given up their will-power to someone else, to be able to take it back again. Herein lies the dilemma of all treatment by hypnosis. It may seem successful, but the success is only transitory. We have no doubt at all that Eve White will be needing further psychiatric treatment in due course, as the present favorable situation achieved by the last hypnotic therapeutic session is hardly likely to last any longer than the former one.
Unless and until Eve White can be made to face up to herself and accept her own shortcomings as coming from herself, and that she has the potentiality of dealing with them herself and surmounting them there is no hope of a real cure for a person like that. And in achieving the desired objective, we aver that Theosophy could probably do far more than hypnotism.
- The Bulletin, No. 155, Corresponding Fellows' Lodge.
THE ORIGINAL PROGRAMME
(3) The Fraternity of Theosophical Fellowship
By T.H. Redfern
Being all agreed that universal brotherhood is our central commitment, how was it originally intended that this should be expressed in our relationships as Theosophists or would-be Theosophists?
Obviously a belief in universal brotherhood that is not bodied forth amongst those who are united in professing it, is an empty pretence - it has no substance, it is not validated, it lacks living reality.
Nor can it be a sufficient answer to say that we do practise limited brotherhood, amongst those who are congenial. Universal brotherhood permits no such barriers, so congeniality is not the test.
On the other hand, unbrotherly behavior is destructive of harmonious relationships; how is that problem to be met? And close and intimate ties demand, if not congeniality, at least the sympathy or empathy of deep mutual understanding; how is that to be squared with universality?
The original policy of the Occult Brotherhood met these difficulties with firm sagacity. H.P.B. was explicit:
"The Founders had to exercise all their influence to oppose selfishness of any kind, by insisting upon sincere, fraternal feelings among the Members - at least outwardly; working for it to bring about a spirit of unity and harmony, the great diversity of creeds notwithstanding; expecting and demanding from the Fellows, a great mutual toleration and charity for each other's shortcomings . . . . One who has reached to the full comprehension of the name and nature of a theosophist will sit in judgment on no man or action . . . From the founders down to the humblest member, the Society is composed of imperfect mortal men not gods. . . `He who feels without sin, let him cast the first stone'."
The words "at least outwardly" recognize that we are going to have difficulty with our feelings, and that the outer facade will sometimes be hypocritical looked at one way, and from another viewpoint will be indicative of our sense of falling short of what we ought to be; but if, instead of struggling with these untheosophical feelings, a member indulges in back-biting or slander, he ought to be expelled says H.P.B.
Col. Olcott was at fault in this respect. Outstandingly self-sacrificing himself in work for the T.S., he was too indulgent to those who harmed the Society. "Europeans of positions and name were allowed to cover the Society literally with mud and slander their Brothers with perfect impunity. This is the President's karma - and it is just", wrote H.P.B. An Adept brother similarly pointed to the Colonel's great qualities and to this weakness: "His kindness and love of peace are great and truly Gautamic in spirit; but he has misapplied that kindness; he allowed it to rest upon and benefit an unworthy... man... In our sight there is no crime worse than ingratitude and injustice, and to see one who suffers them without protest is equal to seeing in him a passive confederate to them." (Letters from The Masters, First Series, Fourth edition, 114/5) .
Justice is then a ruling principle. A British newspaper recently pointed to the necessity for tempering mercy with justice, as well as the other way round, and this is part of the practice of theosophical brotherhood. The unbrotherly must be expelled, without sitting in judgment on them! "No harm should be done even to the wretch whom gratitude fails to bind; but he should not be
. . . given means to carry out his foul conspiracy" (idem).
Another first principle is that of freedom for Lodges and branches. Within the universal brotherhood, congeniality can find natural expression in such groupings, though side by side with this provision the widest practicable diversity within groups that can be harmoniously attained is advisable; but harmony is the overall necessity. On this we have clear and valuable guidance from our wise and experienced Adept brethren, who brought the T.S. into existence.
". . . In Europe more than anywhere else a Universal Brotherhood, i.e. an Association of `affinities' of strong magnetic yet dissimilar forces and polarities centred round one dominant idea, is necessary for successful achievements in occult sciences." (The Mahatma Letters, 20).
". . . I must ask you to remember that the new Society shall not be allowed to disconnect itself with the Parent Body, though you are at liberty to manage your affairs in your own way without fearing the slightest interference from its President so long as you do not violate the general rules" (idem 16) .
"Solidarity of thought and action with the broad outline of the chief and general principles of the Society there must always be between the Parent and Branch bodies; yet the latter must be allowed each their own independent action in everything that does not clash with those principles." (idem 318/9).
It is clear then that the intended pattern was the maximum freedom and autonomy for Lodges within the context of a single united Society. H.P.B. Iaid marked emphasis on the importance of unity in her famous letter to the American Convention in 1889:
". . . `Union is Strength'; and for every reason private differences must be sunk in united work for our Great Cause;" and also in the last chapter of The Key to Theosophy in relation to the possible serviceability of the Society in connection with the Adepts' program of a centennial mission to the West. She hoped that when their next messenger comes in 1975, he (or she) will find:
". . . besides a large and accessible body of literature ready to men's hands . . . a numerous and United body of people ready to welcome the new torch-bearer of Truth . . . Think how much one, to whom such an opportunity is given, could accomplish . . . If the Theosophical Society survives and lives true to its mission, to its original impulses through the next hundred years . . . earth will be a heaven in the twenty-first century in comparison with what it is now."
Clearly we have wandered from the original intention. Is separateness that does not preclude brotherliness sufficient? Can we justify claims to represent the original endeavor if we practise something radically contrary? The Adepts and H.P.B. set great store on our presenting a united front to the world, and we have departed from that. They sought an interplay of the magnetic energies of dissimilars in a unified field, and there has been a process of hiving off, with diminution of the benefits of full interplay of free and autonomous but cooperative groups in an interdependent whole. Seeking to serve the purposes of the Adept Brotherhood to whom many of us feel deeply indebted and grateful, what should we do about the situation as it now exists? Nothing impulsive or impetuous surely, but does not a natural purpose dwell inherently in the situation? If so, there is thinking to be done before appropriate and confident action follows.
"THE GOLDEN STAIRS"
Theosophic Light on Daily Living
By Iverson L. Harris
`An Eager Intellect'
According to Theosophy, it is manas, the mind, the self-conscious thinker, that distinguishes a man from the creatures below him; in fact, it is from the Sanskrit verbal root man, `to think,' that the English word `man' is said to be derived. Therefore, if we would be truly human, let us be eager to learn; for everything that we learn can be to us an added source of happiness as well as an increased power to serve. Here we can take a lesson from the much-misunderstood Prophet of Arabia, Mohammed `al Amin', Mohammed `the Faithful.' Illiterate himself, he could yet lay down the law for Islam in this wise, and thus set the feet of his Moslems on the road of learning and preserve what there was of civilization and the scientific spirit in the West during the Middle Ages. Taught the Prophet:
The ink of the doctors is holier than the martyrs' blood . . . Acquire knowledge; whoso acquires it performs an act of piety; who speaks of it praises the Lord; who seeks it adores God; who dispenses instruction in it, bestows alms; who imparts it to its fitting objects, performs an act of devotion to God. A mind without culture is like a body without a soul. Glory does not consist in riches, but in knowledge. He who leaves his home in search of knowledge, walks in the path of God. He who travels in the road of knowledge, God will lead him in the road of Heaven . . . . To listen to the instruction of science and learning for one hour is more meritorious than attending the funerals of a thousand martyrs, or than standing up in prayer for a thousand nights
- Quoted by Kenneth Morris in Golden Threads in the Tapestry of History: Part III, Chapter 3; The Theosophical Path, Vol. XI, No. 2, August, 1916.
Vast fields of knowledge lie open before us, provided only that we have an eager intellect. `An eager intellect' does not necessarily imply a brilliant intellect. Every normal man, like every normal child, can be eager to learn; and Theosophy holds before us the picture of incarnation after incarnation in which we may learn, evolve, grow ever greater and wiser, until after many ages we attain relative omniscience for this human stage of evolution.
I believe that nothing stimulates the mind and encourages a genuine humanism more than Theosophy does. As H.P. Blavatsky wrote in her message to the Convention of the Theosophical Society in America, in 1888:
Theosophy teaches the animal man to be a human-man; and when people have learned to think and feel as truly human beings should feel and think, they will act humanely, and works of charity, justice, and generosity will be done spontaneously by all.
Dr. de Purucker gave utterance to this exquisite gem of thought, which to my mind epitomizes in one sentence the essential purposes of the T.S.:
Light for the mind, love for the heart, understanding for the intellect: all three must be satisfied in every man before he has real peace.
`An Unveiled Spiritual Perception'
What is the modus operandi for attaining `an unveiled spiritual perception'? It is the method taught by the Mother of all Religions, the Ancient Wisdom, which has found different ex-
(Continued on Page 111)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I have before me a copy of "Man's Potent Forces" written by Mr. Geoffrey A. Barborka and wish to state at once for the benefit of those who have not read it the extraordinary and wonderful insight it gives of our general makeup. From beginning to end it is an enthralling scientific account of "the marvellous functions of - the human body - the brain and nervous system - the mysterious glands - diseases and the Wonder Drugs - and man's hidden spiritual resources that link him with Divine Reality". I cannot too strongly recommend it. Anyone interested may obtain a copy from the Greenwich Book Publishers, 489 Fifth Ave., New York. Price $2.50 per copy.
An unusual Animal World Day meeting was held at the Toronto Lodge on Sunday October 5. Besides the talk I gave on the subject Mrs. Gaile Campbell arranged a delightful Fashion Show in which models displayed synthetic furs and hats under the direction of Mrs. Goldie Woodall. A gentle hint was directed to those in the audience wearing furs that they "do not throw them away but refrain from buying another".
I recently received some pamphlets regarding the exportation of monkeys from India for experimental purposes. The data given is of a revolting nature and truly "maketh the heart sick". The pros and cons of vivisection are multitudinous. On the one hand we have Lord Cohen's defence of vivisection in which he supports the discoveries and benefits alleged to have owed their origin to experiments on animals. On the other hand we have a report, not by an antivivisectionist but a Consulting Surgeon of Guy's Hospital, London, Sir W. Heneage Ogilvie who declares that, ". . . the claptrap and sales talk of animal experimentation can be had for the asking and can be served up to support any theory, however bizarre, and any operation, however unsound." Harsh words, but to the point and I commend them to those who are "sitting on the fence". And if anyone would care to read Lord Dowding's speech in the House of Lords, I will be glad to send a copy.
In September I spent a week in Montreal visiting members, attending meetings and delivering lectures. I found unusual activity in lodge-doings where it was felt that by having three public talks by me with appropriate publicity it would be a good start for the new season. These talks were held in The Merchant's Building and the attendance was very good, especially on the last night when the applause was loud and prolonged. Judging from the enthusiasm displayed, the number of books sold and the many enquiries made, I feel sure the visit was very worthwhile.
During the same month I attended meetings of the Phoenix and Hamilton Lodges both of which were inaugurations of officers for the coming year. At these I spoke respectively on "Why Theosophy?" and "Theosophy on the March".
I regret to announce the death of Mrs. Hazel A. Robertson who joined the Society in October 1930. She was a faithful member and always accompanied her husband Mr. Guy Robertson who has been afflicted with blindness from his youth up to our meetings. Our deepest condolences are hereby expressed to Mr. Robertson and his family in their sorrow.
It is with pleasure I welcome the following new members into the Society: Miss Laura E. Baldwin, Phoenix Lodge
and Mr. Floyd L. McKay, Hamilton Lodge.
As we have no issue of the magazine in December I take this opportunity of wishing you all the Compliments of the Season. May your Christmas be a happy one and, may the New Year be fruitful in all we desire not only for those we love abut for our fellowmen wherever they may be.
- 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
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 Acting Editor: Miss L. Gaunt, B.A., 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 lodges of the Canadian Theosophical Society in greater Vancouver, - the Vancouver lodge, the Orpheus lodge and the Canyon lodge, - have just cashed in on a slice of good Karma.
Mr. Victor Endersby whom we have been trying to get up here from Berkeley, California, for the last year or two, paid us a visit. The three lodges met together in the lodge rooms of the Vancouver lodge and Mr. Endersby gave us an address followed by a discussion which was a heartening stimulus and a real satisfaction to us all. He spoke about conditions Theosophical and the many pseudo theosophical activities which flourish below the line, and filled in a picture, new in its details, to most of us. Finally he dwelt intensively upon the important part all students who are positively trying to uphold the true light of Theosophy are doing, - unspectacular, unheroic, difficult work, with its recurring strains and tensions; and yet it is upon these efforts throughout the world, that the future of Theosophy depends.
As is well known, Mr. Endersby is the Editor of Theosophical Notes, a monthly journal which is packed with Theosophical material of great interest to most students. The reader may not agree, but he will not go to sleep. This journal he sends gratis to anyone who indicates a desire to read it. The address is Box 65, Berkeley 4, California, U.S.A.
A few days later, another piece of good fortune arrived in the persons of Professor Ernest Wood and his wife on a holiday in Vancouver from his strenuous work as head of the Asian Academy in San Francisco. As many wanted to meet Professor Wood, once again the same three lodges met together in the Orpheus lodge room, and spent a riotous hour or two discussing the Theosophical Society and its prospects informally, after hearing a short but valuable talk by the Professor in which he outlined what is really important in the practical application of Theosophy, viz. self-reliance mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
We all were glad to see him again and looking so very well, despite his years.
The Quarterly Meeting of the General Executive, Theosophical Society in Canada was held at 52 Isabella St., Toronto, on. Sunday October 5 with the following members in attendance: - Miss M. Hindsley, Messrs. C.E. Bunting, C.M. Hale, G.I. Kinman and the General Secretary. Miss Laura Gaunt, Acting Editor, ex-officio.
Col. Thomson in opening the meeting welcomed Miss Gaunt in her capacity as Acting Editor and congratulated her on the excellence of the recent issue of the magazine. The Minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. The General Secretary read the Financial Report and moved its adoption which was duly carried. Miss Gaunt reported progress for the magazine and Mr. Kinman stated that the volumes in the hands of the Binders are due for completion. T he General Secretary produced documents received from Adyar for the consideration of the Executive relating to Amendments of Rules and Regulations of the Society, these were duly discussed and voted upon in the affirmative. The question of the increase of Annual Dues was again brought forward and it was decided in continuation of the report already given in the last issue of the magazine that as the increase would not take place until the next financial year the notice to members having been withheld would now be sent out as soon as possible, and that voting should close on January 1, 1959, in order that Returns may be brought before the next meeting of the Executive for their consideration. Col. Thomson gave a report of his recent visit to Montreal and stated that it had been very successful and that his three public lectures had been well attended and enthusiastically received. Many new contacts had been received and the new season for the lodge given a fine impetus. After certain correspondence had been dealt with it was arranged that the next meeting should take place on Sunday, January 11, 1959. The meeting then adjourned. - General Secretary.
GENERAL EXECUTIVE SPECIAL MEETING
At the request of several distant members of the Executive a special meeting was called to reconsider the increase of annual dues as passed at the meeting held on July 20. This took place at 52 Isabella St., Toronto, on Sunday, October 26 with the following members present: Miss M. Hindsley, Miss L. Gaunt (ex officio) Messrs C.M. Hale, G.I. Kinman, and the General Secretary. Letters were received from Dr. W.E. Wilks, Mr. Emory P. Wood and Mrs. M.W. Harley. Mr. C.E. Bunting was unavoidably absent but his views had been obtained by telephone. Col. Thomson opened the proceedings by reading the letters which intimated that the writers were of the opinion that in view of the situation the dues as proposed were inadequate and should be doubled viz $5 P.A. The members present however thought that a small advance from time to time would be preferable in view of the fact that we have many members who find it difficult to meet the present rate and after much discussion this was the unanimous decision of the meeting. To meet the changes and to ensure that there was no undue changing of the Constitution the following motions were proposed: that Art. 7 of the Constitution be amended to read: "The Annual Dues be set at the discretion of the General Executive as they think fit from time to time"; and "That the dues for 1959-60 be set at $3.50 P.A." These were carried nem. con. It was further arranged that the letter to be sent to members with the voting slip be signed by the General Secretary on behalf of the General Executive. The meeting then terminated.
- E. L. T.
The question of increasing the Annual Dues has to be decided by a majority vote of the Membership. By the time this note is in print members in good standing will have received a copy of the letter referred to in the Report of the Annual Meeting of the Theosophical Society in Canada, (see elsewhere in this issue). I feel sure everyone concerned will treat it with the consideration and importance it deserves. I will not further enlarge upon the question as the letter and report speak for themselves. However, what I do wish to emphasize and impress upon those concerned is that they complete the Voting Slip and forward same in the envelope enclosed without delay as the closing date for voting is January 1, 1959. Scrutineers will be appointed and the result of the plebiscite published in the next issue of the magazine.
- General Secretary.
2nd October, 1958.
In 1955 you published a paper I had read to The Peace Lodge in 1950 comparing teachings of H.P. Blavatsky, C.W. Leadbeater and Rudolf Steiner about Gautama Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, Pratyeka Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, Jesus Christ and Christian Rosenkreutz.
On p. 188 of your February issue I quoted this from C.W.L.: "When we examine clairvoyantly the life of the founder of Christianity . . . we can find no trace of the alleged 12 apostles," and added that "later he wrote as though he had forgotten this and took the 12 apostles for granted". A footnote was appended that a friend who had seen the paper in draft had challenged this statement, and "so far I have not been able to justify it, though feeling sure that I did not include it in the paper in 1950 without good evidence". I have now come across this again in an article on East and West in The Liberal Catholic of June 1928: " . . . Christ chose . . . those twelve Apostles of His; He called them away from their ordinary modes of getting a living".
T. H. Redfern.
Blessed Be He: A Tribute to Alexander Watt, a selection from his writings (The Hawkshead Press, Box 333, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada), 24 pages; edition limited to 126 copies which are signed and numbered by the author for his private distribution.
The strange title of this booklet, Blessed Be He, is taken from an ancient Hebrew legend which describes the creation of the universe. It is not as easy, however, to explain the contents of this booklet, for the ten sections which compose it are varied, being selections from the lectures, articles and poetry of Alexander Watt, a Canadian Theosophist and lecturer of no mean repute.
Outwardly Blessed Be He is a handsome piece of typography; it is printed in two colors on a textured stock which resembles parchment. Inwardly Blessed Be He is a sustained rhapsody celebrating the sensuous aspects of the spiritual life. Since the tone of the writing is oracular arid poetical, the booklet is couched in symbolic references. These reflect the author's wide range of studies which include the Qabala, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Crowleyism, Christianity and the Tarot, although it will be noted that these diverse influences have been integrated
into a greater whole.
While it is difficult to analyze Blessed Be He, since the booklet abounds in suggestive paradoxes, perhaps its most beautiful sections are those two which describe Crowley's "star-sponge" and the author's meditation on the fourteenth Tarot card. In the former the ecstasy associated with the soul's merging with the feminine pole of manifestation is described, and in the latter the author sets forth a parable which is the archetype of the soul's adventure along the mystical path.
Aside from a few obvious misprints, Blessed Be He is a beautiful presentation, in capsule form, of a complete philosophy of life which holds that the highest life is the spiritual life. It is unfortunate that Blessed Be He will be available to only so few, since its oracular tone necessitates frequent rereadings, and, since it would be appreciated by many more than the author's immediate acquaintances.
Letters to My God, by Dragobert D. Runes, Ph.D., published by the Philosophical Library, Inc., New York, 58 pp., $2.00.
Dr. Runes is well-known in the philosophical world through his books and other publications, Dictionary of Philosophy, Twentieth Century Philosophy, The Wisdom of the Torah, Letters to My Son, to mention a few of these.
This new volume consists of fourteen short letters addressed to "My Lord", each touching upon one of the attributes ascribed to Deity, - Judgment, Might, Ever-Creativity, Mercy, Peace, etc. These are the meditations and questions of a soul searching for wisdom, peace and assurance in a world whose conflicts, divisions, injustices and pains are in sad contrast to the intuitively perceived order, peace and harmonious unity of the Cosmos.
THE GOLDEN STAIRS (Continued from Page 106)
pressions. Among different peoples adapted to the needs of different ages in which have lived and taught succeeding Messengers from the Brotherhood of the Masters, who have themselves attained in varying degrees this unveiled spiritual perception.
It was taught by the Prince who became a beggar in order to enlighten mankind, Gautama the Buddha, in his Noble Eightfold Path: "Right Understanding, Right Resolution, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Way of Earning a Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Thought, Right Meditation."
The age-old method of attaining to an unveiled spiritual perception was also taught by the Buddha's great contemporary in Magna Graecia, Pythagoras, in his mystery-school at Krotona in Sicily. Here is a translation of his `Golden Verses':
Do innocence; take heed before thou act,
Nor e'er let soft sleep upon thine eyelids steal,
Until the day's acts thou hast three times scann'd
What have I done? What done amiss? What left unwrought?
Go over the whole account, nor aught omit.
If evil, chide thee; if good, rejoice.
This do, this meditate, this ever love,
And it will lead thee into Wisdom's path.
In ancient and honorable China; in that same wonderful sixth century before the Christian Era, we find two other great Sages proclaiming the method of acquiring an unveiled spiritual perception. In the Tao-Teh-King, Laotse, the old librarian and keeper of the royal archives at Honanfu, is reputed to have written:
Knowing Eternity makes one comprehensive; comprehension makes one broad-minded; breadth of vision brings nobility; nobility is like Heaven; the heavenly is like Tao. Tao is the eternal.
- Dwight Goddard's translation.
Concerning the essential steps in acquiring an unveiled spiritual perception, I know of no more simple yet profound instructions than those given to his disciples by Laotse's younger contemporary, Kung Futze, Kung the Master, better known to the West under its Latinized form of Confucius:
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.
- Lionel Giles, The Sayings of Confucius, pp. 68-69
The above was given to the Black-haired people of old China five hundred years before the Nazarene gave to the people of Judaea the Golden Rule.
Some fifteen hundred years after that rule was alleged to have been proclaimed by the Syrian Sage, we find Paracelsus, the great Theosophist of the Sixteenth Century, enunciating again the eternal truth concerning an unveiled spiritual perception. Robert Browning credits the celebrated physician-alchemist with the following illuminating teaching:
Truth is within ourselves, it takes no rise
From outward things, whate'er you may believe.
There is an inmost center in us all,
Where Truth abides in fulness; and around
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
This perfect, clear perception - which is Truth.
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Binds it, and makes all error; and, to know
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.
There, I believe, in those few lines one has the secret of reaching by degrees `an unveiled spiritual perception' - `that perfect, clear perception - which is Truth.'
`A Brotherliness for One's Co-Disciple'
The Master here does not lay stress on the general doctrine of Universal Brotherhood - except by implication from the fact that in a very broad sense we are all co-disciples in the school of life. The importance of this teaching lies in the fact that we are to be brotherly towards our co-disciples; i.e., those with whom we are in contact in our daily living. It is often much easier to love `humanity' in the abstract, than it is to be considerate and brotherly to the actual men and women who make up the only portion of humanity whom most of us will ever know at all intimately; i.e., the members of our own families or others with whom we must by karmic destiny live and work. Therefore, if we are to climb the golden stairs to the Temple of Divine Wisdom, we must learn to be brotherly to these intimate associates. It is as simple as that. But we can, of course, continuously expand our `circle of affinity'. As Edwin Markham has so neatly phrased it:
He drew a circle that shut me out,
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout;
But love and I had the wit to win,
For we drew a circle that took him in.
I hardly need remind students of the importance which all the great spiritual Sages and Seers have placed upon this quality of brotherly love and kindliness.
It is by exemplifying this quality that we can begin to reach towards the stature of the Buddhas and the Christs. In Golden Precepts of Esotericism, Dr. de Purucker writes:
Love is the most beauteous, the holiest, thing known to human beings. It gives to man hope; it holds his heart in aspiration; it stimulates the noblest qualities of the human being, such as the sacrifice of self for others; it brings about self-forgetfulness; it brings also peace and joy that know no bounds. It is the noblest thing in the Universe.
The Tao-Teh-King, the Buddhist scriptures, the Bible, in fact the loftiest in the literatures of the world stress this idea of brotherly love and compassion as being among the divinest attributes of a truly awakened human being. In The Voice of the Silence we read:
So shalt thou be in full accord with all that lives; bear love to men as though they were thy brother-pupils, disciples of one Teacher, the sons of one sweet mother.
We can often show real brotherliness for our co-disciples by refraining from misjudging or criticising them. Bailey brings home this lesson in the following lines shedding mellow Theosophic light on daily living:
Judge not; the workings of his brain
And of his heart, thou canst not see;
What looks to thine eyes a stain,
In God's pure light may only be
A scar brought from some well-won field,
Where thou wouldst only faint and yield.
`A Readiness to Give and Receive Advice and Instruction'
There are probably millions, of our fellow-human beings who are groping for an adequate philosophy of life and who often chase will-o'-the-wisps in their search for such a philosophy.
These truth-seekers would, I believe, prize above everything else that could be given them the absolute knowledge that there is eternal truth about man and the universe to be had by anyone who really wants to find it. Therefore it behooves us, always within the bounds of common-sense and good breeding, and as far as our own studies and experience have enlightened us, to be ready to pass on to others what we know of the fundamental Theosophical doctrines of karman, reincarnation, cycles, the perfectibility of man and his essential divinity, the existence of the Masters and their teachings, the grandiose Theosophical conceptions of the involution and evolution of man - the microcosm, and of the macrocosm or great world, the doctrines of the two paths, of hierarchies, of the common divine origin of all science, philosophy, and religion in the Wisdom of the Gods, Theosophia.
In The Voice of the Silence we read: Give light and comfort to the toiling pilgrim, and seek out him who knows still less than thou; who in his wretched desolation sits starving for the bread of Wisdom and the bread which feeds the shadow, without a Teacher, hope, or consolation, and - let him hear the Law.
There speaks the voice of compassion. It is also a challenge to every student to pass on to the best of his ability such light as he may be able at any time to enkindle in the minds and hearts of fellow-pilgrims through having lighted his own candle at the altar-fires of the Ancient Wisdom. Strange paradox! The more we give of spiritual and intellectual treasures, the more do we ourselves acquire a store of riches from which to give still more. Such is the magic of helping and sharing in the higher spheres of human activity.
(To be Concluded in our Next Issue)
SECOND LOOK AT THE THIRD EYE
By Victor Endersby
Some explanation of the writing of this is due, as it involves experiences of my own that are somewhat more personal than commonly published in the Canadian Theosophist or that I like to print.
When the book first attracted public attention, remarks on it appearing in the Bulletin of the Corresponding Fellows' Lodge, England, caused me to write a cautionary note for Bulletin readers, mentioning that while I had not read the book and was not prepared to make definitive remarks about it, it would be a good thing to regard anything supposed to be out of Tibet with considerable caution from now on.
Later, the result of some reviews and a very odd experience of my own. I wrote a more lengthy letter, also printed in the Bulletin. The Acting Editor of the Canadian Theosophist, upon reading it, requested permission to reprint it or to have an article dealing with the same subject. The Bulletin is a quite informal journal, and my letter did not go circumstantially into the matter; I wrote under considerable pressure for time as a rather sketchily expressed opinion rather than a study. Hence I have felt it better to cover the ground more analytically here.
Several things caused me, first to be wary of the book, second, to list it as a fraud, in advance of reading it in detail. One of these was that it dealt with a "mission" to the Occident out of Tibet. In addition to having had some experience with these "missions" in the past, the Mahatmas are on record that they would neither come to the West themselves, nor send anyone, between December 31, 1899, and 1975. (A very necessary move, but I have not the space to go into it here.)
Next was the description of the "opening of the Third Eye," by a surgical operation. I will shortly, now having the text at hand, deal with that question. Then there were two other excerpts; one dealing with some alleged kite-flying by Tibetan lamas, the other with "Shamballa." These were enough sampling; when you take the top off a can, you don't have to eat to the bottom to know whether it is beans or peaches.
However, it was not quite as simple as it seems. My first reaction was to put the whole thing down as plain fiction, like so many other alleged occult revelations. Naturally this tended to be confirmed when some annoyed scholars of Tibetan matters set a detective on the author, "T. Lobsang Rampa" and discovered under this pseudonym an English plumber's son, Cyril Hoskins.
This is still a possibility, but there is an alternative explanation involving a curious situation; a sort of fraud within a reality, or a reality within a fraud. I am especially inclined toward this one because I had been having an interesting experience with Mr. Rampa's lore myself during the intervening months. (Though I did not know with whom I was dealing until the very end.)
I will relate this before making a study of the book itself - and, incidentally, the book is not to be regarded lightly; if its intention is what I think it is, it is a very capable piece of work for that purpose. It has passages in it of a descriptive nature very close to being literature; a marked exception to the usual style of these occult rackets. When I read the text, I realized much better how it happened that a number of intelligent people had taken it as authentic.
Last year I wrote a letter to a maga-
zine, Astounding Science Fiction Stories, on the subject of "psionics", or occult phenomena, with which the Editor thereof had been dealing experimentally without knowing what he was dealing with. This magazine is one of the few in the science fiction field of good literary quality; also prints considerable authentic factual science. It was a long letter, but to my surprise, it was printed in full.
This letter, together with one on reincarnation later published in Search, brought down a considerable volume of letters from various individuals and also from assorted cultists the inflow still continues. These latter have given me a disquieting insight on the trend of the present psychic cycle. Mediumism is breaking out everywhere, as it did last century, in a direction I would call "neo-spiritualism", and which in some cases overlaps and is merged with subdivisions of neo-theosophy. What is most disturbing is the fact that when one assembles the jigsaw puzzle of these communications, a definite pattern appears. In one of the Mahatma Letters written in the early '80's is a definite warning that the dugpas were "already ahead of us" in the Occident, doing their "infamous work" in the promotion of mediumism and spiritualism. It is apparent that they are again "ahead"; for the general tendency of this pattern is to set up road-blocks, detours and diversions from the Theosophical teachings, evidently aimed at the mission of 1975. The point here is that through my aforesaid letters published, I made a contact which months later proved to be with "Lobsang Rampa" at second hand and perhaps not very much secondhand; and that this contact opened up some information which caused Rampa's "mission" to fit into that pattern.
Most of the letters about mine came along rather quickly after publication; this particular one, some months afterward - a peculiar circumstance. It was from a brother craftsman, a construction engineer or superintendent, of whom I had not previously heard. He stated that he had been widely engaged in his profession around the world, including the Orient; that he had, with considerable difficulty made contact with some of the "orientals" whom I had mentioned in my letter as having prior knowledge of these matters; and that he would like to discuss the subject via tape recording, which he preferred to written letters. This discussion took place and went on for some months. He was very noncommittal about the exact identity of his guru or gurus, but it seemed that they did have some real occult knowledge. Judging from the trend of the discussion, my correspondent had derived all he knew from his particular contact, whatever it was. He seemed to have no knowledge of the Theosophical movement.
He brought up of his own initiative a very curious question. It concerned what I will call "phenomenon X" - a terrifying disaster that happens sometimes to people and has been a source of bewilderment to medical men and the press. It is not mentioned in Theosophical literature, so far as I know, but there are Theosophical explanations applicable. It happens that I had been interested in it for many years; in fact I had prepared an article on it for the first issue of Theosophical Notes, which for one reason or another was never published.
Mr. X and I had considerable discussion on this and some of his remarks gave me a lead which finally brought out a remark by him that seemed to solve the question. I do not wish to go into the matter here, but will say that it has to do with the results of misapplied Kundalini Yoga. I told him that this explanation was acceptable. The discussion, plus much that had preceded it,
had given me considerable respect for the occult knowledge of Mr. X's "guru -" whom he had never named.
Mr. X then said that he had wished to write a book concerning "Phenomenon X," but thought that my own background and range of knowledge of the occult fitted me much better to do so. But he let a Tibetan cat out of the bag at the same time - he said that his teacher was Lobsang Rampa and that the "exposure" of Rampa as Hoskins was absurd; also that the real story was one of the most weird I had ever met with. He said that he had hundreds of letters from Rampa and many tape recordings, and would let me have this material if I wanted it.
I wrote him to the effect that I would be interested in anything he wished to send; but that as I had decided that Rampa and I were headed in opposite directions in the occult world, I would naturally be studying the material critically and perhaps with hostility. If he found that situation acceptable, he should send me whatever he thought fit.
Instead, he then sent me personally signed copies of statements by Rampa and his wife, (Mr. and Mrs. Hoskins). Hoskins' statement was to the effect that he, the Ego actually using the Hoskins' body, was in fact the Tibetan lama of the story; that he had been trying for a long time to take over the Hoskins' body by telepathic influence, and has at last succeeded by means of an accident that knocked Hoskins unconscious. He woke up as Lobsang Rampa. Mr. Rampa, or Mr. Hoskins, whichever may be said to have signed the statement, justifies this dubious procedure by saying that the original Hoskins' ego was fed up with life and wanted to go. In any case, according to the statement, Rampa found himself in an English body with an important mission on hand and no funds. Through the advice of a friend and to solve the problem, he wrote the "Third Eye" book. (The mission was to promote aura reading for the purpose of medical diagnosis.)
The statement of Mrs. Hoskins, now "Kuan Suo", is consistent with this story. She described how, during the preliminary period when Rampa was gaining ascendency over the Hoskins mind, she was worried over how her husband seemed to be losing his memory and, was talking about Oriental matters instead of his normal Western interests. She describes how she found him lying under a tree in the orchard after his accident, and the following change of personality, in which his memories of Tibet became clear and those of Hoskins largely lost.
Now one can take either of two views of this account. Either that it represents a line of retreat for Hoskins from his original pose of being Rampa in person, taken after he was run to earth as Hoskins by the investigators; or you can take it as true. There is no question as to which explanation the world at large would prefer. For Theosophists, who known about the phenomena of obsession, mediumism, and possession, the theory that it is true is tenable, at least. As between the two, I am inclined to the latter; a main reason being that my own indirect contact through Mr. X seems to show more real occult knowledge on Rampa's part than I would credit the plumber's son with. Of course this isn't evidential so far as the reader is concerned, without hearing the tapes, which is hardly practicable. It might not be even then. But let us pursue the implications a bit farther. If Rampa is real, he is a dugpa. This is a harsh statement; I will give some evidence for it later, but the informed reader should have already recognized that the described "take-over" smacks far more of dugpaship than of right-hand occultism, as an example. But there is still
another alternative; that Rampa is not a live lama operating from Tibet, but a dead dugpa operating from the astral - an elementary, in other words. Rampa's story is that after leaving Tibet he went to China, fought in the World War in the Chinese air force, was captured, and suffered many horrors first at the hands of the Japanese then of the communists. Now this participation in violence, as well as the kind of karma experienced, is most extraordinary conduct for a "yellow-cap" lama, or any other variety of true Eastern occultist. It has brought to my mind the thought that the real Rampa was a failed chela who left Tibet, got into the war, and got killed in it. There are some confusions in the book which do look a little more like the operation of the partial mind of an "earth-bound" than of a live and rational black adept. On the other hand there are signs that point the other way.
I am intrigued no end here by an interesting thought. Mrs. Lobsang Rampa, originally Hoskins, by her own belief, is now living in wedlock with a Tibetan, though never divorced, widowed, or remarried. Is she in a state of adultery? This, would be a pretty problem for the courts, but I hope the situation doesn't happen often enough to force them to deal with it!
My own connection through Mr. X is a very interesting deal. In the first place, why was I communicated with months after my letter, first appeared? Was there some prior consultation or communication of some sort between parties unknown? Did X know about it if so; or was my letter called to his attention by somebody with the suggestion that he write me? Why was it that the taped discussion led up by degrees, logically planned degrees, to that very subject, "phenomenon X," which had intrigued me for years, but which very few other people have ever heard about? In fact, I have never published anything
about it and have never even discussed it with anyone but my wife. If somebody knew that that was a subject of special interest to me, it was not by normal means. In any case the net result of this interchange was to inculcate in me considerable interest in Mr. X's then unknown "guru"; and to ready the field for a suggestion that I engage in a publication which in effect would be a collaboration with him. It could have been anticipated that such a publication would either have made me an ally of Rampa's, or crippled me as an opponent. This implies that through X, Rampa made a deliberate effort to gather me in. I don't think it would have succeeded even if X, perhaps unanticipated by Rampa, had not given the game away; I was not really ready to write such a book - not quite enough supporting data to present to the public. Of course all this would imply that I was important enough to be the object of special effort by the dugpa clan. It seems possible.
I am no world-shaking character like Madame Blavatsky; but I do publish a journal with several hundred readers which has come to be a fairly important factor in the cause of Blavatsky Theosophy; I do have entry to magazine circles in the world at large; and the fewness of us now working in this cause might make some of us of more importance to the opposition than would have been the case some decades ago. Also, in the world at large I have a good standing as an engineer; I have not chosen to exploit it in advertising myself as an important character, but such would be in line in any program contemplated by the dugpa set. In any case, there is an interesting pattern tending in that direction. At this point, however, I should say that I consider Mr. X himself 100 per cent honest; if he was used as an agent in any scheming of this sort I am certain he was unaware of it. He is my own kind - American technologist - and the
type is not very adroit at schemes. This was shown for instance in the fact that he revealed Rampa's identity just at the moment that a real plotter would have kept it most quiet.
Now during all this I had never read Rampa's book itself; a friend gave me a copy just after I had agreed to either write this article for the Canadian Theosophist or permit republication of the Bulletin letter.
Unfortunately, this edition does not conform to the reviews I have read of the original. It is an American republication. It makes, for instance, only a single mention of "Chambala" as a mountainous region in the north, instead of featuring that area as the original apparently did. It makes hardly any mention of the Chinese air force episode; and many points are so briefly treated that I suspect considerable abbreviation that has hardly done it justice. Even so, it is quite a piece of work. The margin between off-color material and versimilitude is very narrow, and the scale, for any given reader, is likely to be tipped by the possession or lack thereof of certain special items of information.
I would like to get the original edition, but do not have time for it before the deadline required by the Canadian Theosophist. Perhaps this article will bring out some informative correspondence from readers familiar with the original. Meantime I will do what I can with it.
The large item, in the first instance, that convinced me the book was fraudulent, was the "Third Eye" operation by which Rampa was supposed to develop clairvoyance. Now the so-called "Third Eye" ceased to function in Atlantean days and became transformed into the pineal gland, which has assumed a number of physiological functions replacing the old occult ones. Enough has been said about it by Madame Blavatsky to show that it can now be activated only in extremely rare cases, - after many years of Raja Yoga discipline; and that its true function when it was active was not on the plane of astral clairvoyance; it "embraced eternity." In other words, it was an organ of spiritual vision, operating as far beyond astral clairvoyance as the mind of Einstein operated beyond that of the ape. But the function described by Rampa is distinctly astral clairvoyance and nothing else; in this edition of the book at least, there is no indication that the writer knows of anything higher.
That such powers could be stimulated or developed by a mere physical operation is absurd; the more so when one contemplates the details of the operation as described.
A tubular saw is used to cut a hole into the frontal bone. While the saw is in place a pointed wooden plug, which has been treated with fire and herbs to make it "iron hard", is inserted in it and pushed into the brain. When it reaches the proper depth, the saw is removed, the plug bound to keep it from moving, and left in place for a few weeks. Thereafter the subject - or victim - is able to see such things as the aura, and read character thereby, as well as conditions of health.
The reader can best appreciate the possible efficiency, or otherwise, of this procedure if he has a diagram of the brain. Rampa does not explain just how far the plug is pushed. If it were pushed far enough to touch the pineal gland - and just how the touch or penetration of a wooden plug could cause that now purely material and physiological gland regulator to "embrace eternity" I can't imagine - it would pass through the cortex, which is the thinking portion of the brain, along or most likely through the optic nerve, through or touching the optic thalamus, and finally, to reach the
gland, have to be directed with great precision hardly possible in view of the small size of the gland and the normal variations from person to person in proportions of skull and placing of organs in it. The pineal gland is located somewhat to the rear of the center of the skull. In other words, the plug would have to be shoved more than halfway through the head, and with great precision in order to avoid vital damage. (Some damage to the cortex would be absolutely unavoidable.) I wonder how many Western physicians would care to chance the risks involved in it? At any rate, if any ardent devotee of the "Third Eye" would care to risk his eyesight and sanity on it, and can find a physician to try it, he has my blessing. I might even contribute to the fee in consideration of the contribution to scientific knowledge. However, the description does not convey the impression that the plug actually was pushed as far as the pineal gland. In which case, what effect would it have? People get all sorts of things shoved into their brains from all angles and to all depths, wooden and otherwise, by accident. I have yet to hear that any of them have ever brought on clairvoyance.
Now I would not say that it is impossible that such an operation exists. I would not consider it impossible that the wooden plug described could have been impregnated with some drug that would upset the functions of the senses in some manner, or even develop some low order clairvoyance. But it certainly would be a dugpa, not a gelugpa, operation. The evidence, however, is against its existence in any form. At least two responsible investigators have spent time in Tibet and gotten very intimate with Tibetan magic - Dr. Evans-Wentz and Madame David-Neel. They give many interesting and weird details, some of which are in conformity with statements made in this book; but there is no hint of any such operation. Neither is there in H.P.B.'s works or the Mahatma Letters. The existence of the "third eye" is wholly unnoted except in Theosophical literature. My own opinion is that the idea of the "third eye" to begin with was picked up from Madame Blavatsky, and in this mutilated form was used to beef up the thrills of the book, which as admitted by Rampa himself was a potboiler to make money. Through some curious quirk of Occidental mentality - perhaps the tendency toward looking for material shortcuts to spiritual powers - it turned out to be the best selling feature of the book. The description of the operation includes a nice touch of verisimilitude - as the plug penetrated, strange odors and sights were experienced. That would be the natural result of touching the olfactory and optic nerves with a foreign body; but it could have been deduced from fairly elementary knowledge of brain physiology. At any rate, the subject might well hope for a successful opening of the third eye because he could emerge from the experience without the use of the other two.
(To be Continued in our Next Issue)
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