Vol. XL, No. 4 Toronto, September-October, 1959 Price 35 Cents
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T. H. MARTYN : FRAGMENTS OF FORGOTTEN (THEOSOPHICAL) HISTORY
By J.M Prentice
"Amid the ruins of this thing undone
I sit and say `Cui bono?' till the sun
Sets, and a bat flits past the sun."
In the issue of a magazine dated November 1st, 1924, and called Dawn, which was the organ of "The T.S. Loyalty League", I wrote an "In Memorial" notice of Thomas Hammond Martyn, which ended with these words:
". . . I desire to place on record that it is my considered opinion that of all those who worked for Theosophy, the place which T.H. Martyn will ultimately occupy is next in order to, and but very little below, that of William Quan Judge."
So far nothing has been done to place on permanent record the magnificent contribution of "T.H.M.", as we called him, linking him with "H.P.B." and "W.Q.J.", in which company he belonged. On the other hand, because he spearheaded so much of the attack on certain influences in the Theosophical Society (Adyar), which were sponsored by Dr. Annie Besant and Bishop C.W. Leadbeater, because he indicated that there was something rotten in the State of the T.S., if not in Denmark, he has been maligned and belittled, so that today he is only heard of when someone wants to act as Devil's Advocate to the T.S. and consign him to Avichi, or the Dead Sphere.
I was reminded of all this when I was loaned a copy of a recent book by Mr. F. Pierce Spinks, entitled Theosophists: Reunite! Speaking of Martyn, Mr. Spinks used a quotation, which I immediately recognized as an extract from A Short History of the Theosophical Society, compiled by Josephine Ransom, but without quotation marks. I understand he has since indicated the source of this quotation, which is to the effect that Martyn, together with eleven other members, (of whom I happened to be one, although treated a little less harshly), was removed from the Society's rolls as being `a continued focus of disturbance.' This is, of course, an over-simplification, and does far less than justice to the situation which brought it about.
First of all a biographical note:
Thomas Hammond Martyn was born in
Finchley (London) in 1860. He was the second son of W.H. Martyn, head of an old respected Cornish family. He came to Australia in 1884, established himself in business in a country town and pioneered the way for the establishment of the weekly half-holiday, now universally recognized throughout Australia. In 1887 he came to Sydney, in order to read for the Bar. There was about this time a great mining boom in silver, and because of it Martyn gave away all thoughts of the law, to become an investor. In 1889 he became a member of the Sydney Stock Exchange. Ten years later the boom burst, but Martyn had established such a reputation for stability and sheer honesty, as well as pioneering the dredging process in tin and gold mining, that he weathered the storm.
About the time he joined the Stock Exchange he became interested in Theosophy and he met Colonel Olcott when the P.T.S. came to Sydney in 1891. A meeting had been called for May 9th, 1891, to develop a Sydney Theosophical Society, as the branches were then called. Just as the meeting was about to convene, a cablegram arrived, was received by Mr. T.W. Willans (for many years a devoted supporter of Mme. Katherine Tingley and President of the Australian Section of the Theosophical Society, Piont Loma, until his death), and was handed by him to Mr. Martyn, who opened it and passed it to Colonel Olcott. It announced the passing of Mme. Blavatsky, which had taken place the day previously. After consultation it was decided to carry on, and so the Sydney Theosophical Society came into being. It was destined to become the largest Lodge of the T.S. in the world under Martyn's inspiring leadership and had about eight hundred members when the disastrous split came in 1923.
Martyn acted as Mrs. Besant's Chief of Staff when she paid her first visit to Australia in 1894. Her main concern was to found a new Section, hostile to W.Q. Judge, then under hot attack. At a conference with Mrs. Besant, Mr. Willans announced his adherence to W.Q.J. and left the meeting. Mr. Martyn accepted her guidance and used his influence a couple of years later to prevent the T.S. in Sydney (and in Australia) from following Judge in the secession, which was led by that great Theosophist.
Through many busy years, up till the turn of the century, Martyn was busy laying the foundation of an immense fortune, but always working for Theosophy. When, years later, I came to know him well, I realized that there were two sides to his character - his business affairs and his devotion to Theosophy. They were in watertight compartments, so to say. During business hours he refused to see anyone on Theosophical matters in his office, but very often dropped in for a modest lunch with members in the Lodge Rooms. In this regard he reminds me of another devoted friend of mine, the late Daniel N. Dunlop, O.B.E., who refused to see me in his office on a brief leave from France during World War I, but made an appointment for me to see him at his home that same evening.
Mr. Martyn was splendidly aided by his second wife, whom he married in 1901, his first wife having died in 1899, after fifteen years of unalloyed happiness. The new Mrs. Martyn was a brilliant and very beautiful woman, of Irish descent, with jet black hair and violet blue eyes, which made her conspicuous in any company. There was one daughter by the first marriage, and a daughter and two sons by the second. Mrs. Martyn died about a year ago; I was proud to merit her friendship for many years. She did much to preserve harmony in the Lodge until the split event-
uated; the lovely Martyn home, "St. Michael's" in Raymond Road, Neutral Bay, with its incomparable views of Sydney Harbor, was "open house" to all the distinguished Theosophists who came to Sydney. Their names are legion. They include Mrs. Cooper-Oakley, Countess Wachtmeister, C.W. Leadbeater in 1905 and again in 1914, when he found it desirable to leave India. He remained a guest in the Martyn home for several years, until Mrs. Martyn took advantage of his temporary absence on an interstate trip, to inform her husband that she was no longer prepared to have him as an inmate of her house, following on incidents she had observed. On his return Mr. Leadbeater (as he was then) took refuge with another wealthy family, the Kollerstroms, who also lived in Raymond Road, almost opposite to "St. Michael's". Prior to this Bishop Wedgwood had arrived in 1917, and installed himself in the Martyn Household. He, also, strained her endurance to the limit!
It is well over fifty years since I first heard Martyn's name, and I met him first in 1909. I recall his quiet charm of manner, deliberately used to set at ease a shy country lad, and also his quizzical but appraising glance when I rose to speak for the first time as a Theosophist amongst Theosophists, in Convention assembled. T.H.M. was possessed of that perfect courtesy which I have always regarded as the outward and visible evidence of that inward and invisible state of mind known as Occultism.
Martyn was always an important person. His wealth, his fertile mind and his amazing powers of organization, together with the deference paid to him as the confidant and representative of Mrs. Besant, being the Corresponding Secretary of the E.S. in Australia and New Zealand, always commanded a respectful hearing. In the period 1910-1915 I attended as a delegate Conventions in Adelaide, Melbourne (twice), Sidney and Hobart. He attended all of them except Hobart, as he was then in Siberia on important mining business.
It was not until 1919 that I was privileged to enjoy the Martyn hospitality. I was in Sydney en route to the United Kingdom and the United States of America. As I sit and dream, it all comes back to me: we walked the verandah with the matchless view, fairy-like with harbor lights, ferry boats, the perfume of exotic plants in the splendid garden, the smell of a cigar, to the smoking of which I was very greatly addicted. For the first time we opened our hearts to each other. In 1914 I had published a critical article in the Section magazine, Theosophy in Australia. Two years before this I had lost all confidence in Mr. Leadbeater's clairvoyance and morals. In that year he visited Melbourne and we clashed bitterly. I challenged him to justify his deviationism from the Theosophy of H.P.B. For me it was the beginning of the end. But this is Martyn's story, not mine. He appended a reply to my article, which crushed me personally, but did not in reality touch the points I had ranged over. The relentless logic of events had brought him round to my viewpoint in 1919; but he was not ready to act. I was his guest again in 1921, after my return from a world-tour. We shared our information. I made available documents which he had not seen. We pooled our information and discussed the situation. We were both anxious to rid the Society, which we both loved, from the enormous and growing incubus of pseudo-psychism, spurious occultism and even more spurious churchianity as well as questionable morals. The materials which I had been collecting for years completed the
case and paved the way for the famous Martyn Letter to Mrs. Besant.
I sat through the stormy Convention of 1922 by his side. I was his guest at "St. Michael's". Mr. Leadbeater was the bone of contention; he was residing then in a flat above the King's Hall, the property of the T.S.; but he did not attend the ordinary sessions. After the Easter Sunday Convention Lecture, which was delivered by Mr. Jinarajadasa, I was told by a Liberal Catholic priest, Spurgeon Medhurst (an ex-Baptist missionary from China) that when the Convention reconvened on the Easter Monday it was proposed to force through a resolution of confidence in Mr. Leadbeater. I may say that the main business of the Convention had been dealt with on Good Friday and Easter Saturday. Odds and ends only remained to be dealt with and most of the delegates had already left for their homes in other States on the Sunday afternoon and evening. So I crossed the harbor to "St. Michael's" to break the news to Martyn. He was playing billiards with Mr. Samuel Studd, the outstanding delegate from Melbourne, as well as President of the Melbourne Lodge, and with Mr. Loris Ingamells, another outstanding Australian Theosophist. A hasty conference was called and Mr. Martyn was accompanied by another stalwart, who was subsequently summoned by Mr. Leadbeater to wait upon him at the Kollerstrom home, where he was offered the 33o in Co-Masonry, with jurisdiction of that degree throughout the world, if he would give his unstinted support to Mr. Leadbeater. He declined. We three then invited Mr. Studd, who had accepted Leadbeater on the say-so of Mrs. Besant, to join us. He was shown the evidence, which he saw for the first time, and was visibly affected. He volunteered to go and see Mr. Jinarajadasa the next morning and appeal to him to call off the proposed resolution. If necessary, he said, he would appeal to C.W.L. himself, to save the situation. "Raja" refused to call off the resolution and denied Studd access to C.W.L.
The resolution was moved and seconded. I rose to lead the opposition, at Martyn's request, while he waited to close the debate. I was immediately confronted by the statement that I could not refer to anything prior to 1908, as Mr. Leadbeater had been completely exonerated in regard to the accusations of 1906 by a special committee of inquiry. At that time I did not know of this circumstance or I would have challenged it. (I will return to this later and show what a travesty of justice it was.) I was limited to fifteen minutes and was muzzled by repeated interjections and calls to order from the Chair, occupied by Jinarajadasa. I had demanded that Mr. Leadbeater should be brought on to the platform, as I was unwilling to be accused later of saying things about him which I would not dare to utter in his presence. He came in wearing clerical dress and an enormous gold pectoral cross. My most outstanding memory is Martyn closing the debate, standing on a chair and denouncing Leadbeater for his association with Bishop Wedgwood, while Jinarajadasa used his gavel and screamed for silence. The motion was carried by a heavy majority, from memory 87 to 15, but then all our supporters had already departed, as they were located in other Australian States.
It was on May 20th, 1921, that T.H.M. addressed his famous letter to Mrs. Besant, which made Theosophical history. I know much of the agony of heart and mind that he passed through prior to and during its composition. This letter, marked "Private and Confidential", was published in America, in The O. E. Library Critic, and so became public property. In Dawn Mr. Martyr
published an article entitled "An Answer to Mrs. Besant", referring to a circular letter which Mrs. Besant issued on March 4th, in which he details the causes leading up to the writing of his letter. He says that as soon as he heard that Dr. Stokes (Editor of The Critic) proposed to publish it he wrote and cabled him not to do so. He was too late. The letter was already printed and published. It precipitated much of the silt which formed such a hideous deposit and which has disfigured the T.S. ever since. I do not know under what circumstances Dr. Stokes received the copy he published; this is still a mystery to me. But it is obvious that there was treachery somewhere. In any case, important as it was, it should not have been published without reference to the writer.
Martyn stresses the fact that his letter was a genuine attempt on his part to solve matters which were worrying him. He sought guidance and the solution of a personal problem - the reconciliation of contradictory statements regarding the occult status of Mr. J.I. Wedgwood. Mrs. Besant had stated on October 20th, 1919, that Wedgwood was NOT an initiate, whereas "Bishop" Leadbeater had stated in 1917 that he WAS. There was the added fact that Mrs. Besant had stated that Wedgwood had been guilty of the grossest immorality, expelled from Adyar and disgraced.
To this letter Martyn says he received an acknowledgment but no reply. After Martyn's death I was invited to examine his private E.S. papers, which Mrs. Martyn placed before me at "St. Michael's". There was the terrible letter to which he had so generously referred. It was brief and bitter; Mrs. Besant told him that for the first time in its history one Initiate and Member of the Great White Lodge had attempted to assassinate a Fellow-Initiate in an act of the blackest treachery. I was refused permission to copy this letter, but I can still visualize it. Yet never once did I hear Martyn say one word regarding the unspeakable agony this letter must have caused him.
He refers also to the letter written by the Rev. Rupert Gauntlett, in which he confirmed everything within his knowledge which Martyn had written. This letter, as will be well remembered, led to the resignation, pro tempore, of Wedgwood from the T.S., the L.C.C. and Co-Masonry. But of course he came back! However, reverting to Mrs. Besant, I would quote from her letter, referred to above, and published in The Theosophist of March, 1922, in which she wrote an impassioned defence of herself:
"To those who know anything of Occultism, I say I stand as servant of the Hierarchy, obeying Their Will and doing Their work as H.P.B. made me declare. Either I am Their Agent, or I am a liar and a blasphemer. Take me as you will."
Today, those of us who remember the heat and the bitterness, would prefer to say that she was the Trilby of a notorious Svengali, that she was wax in the hands of Leadbeater after being told by him in Taormina in 1908 that they were both Arhats, of which she had no knowledge at the time. Not a liar, deliberately at any rate, nor a blasphemer, but a foolish, egotistical and misguided woman, who, even if she had realized her mistake, was unwilling to retrace her steps. Her reference to H.P.B., dragged in by the ears, as it were, is perhaps the worst feature of this quotation: it is an attempt to make use of the authority of H.P.B. and the name of Mme. Blavatsky, whose teachings had by then been utterly and completely superseded.
Besides the "Answer to Mrs. Besant", referred to above as appearing in Dawn
of May, 1922, there was a SECOND letter written by Martyn to Mrs. Besant, dated March 7th, 1923, and published in Dawn of July, 1923. It is a courteously written letter, second only in importance to the first letter, and equally scarifying. Towards the end he wrote:
"The root of the trouble is, that if Mr. Leadbeater and Mr. Wedgwood are immoral, they cannot be what you have represented them to be, i.e., on the threshold of Divinity and inspired prophets whose words and acts are worthy of reverence and esteem and to be blindly accepted. That is the real issue, and, we take it, always has been."
To me this was not entirely so. From the very outset of my own divergence I was much more concerned with the deviation from the Theosophy which Blavatsky taught than with the moral aspect. My attitude, as far as the moral issue was concerned, was to leave that to the individual Karma of the people themselves, until the full significance swept over me and I realized all that was involved.
Now I want to revert to the so-called exoneration of Leadbeater in 1908. This was unbelievably naive. Remember that of the twelve reputable people who assisted Colonel Olcott in the "trial" of 1906, and who heard Mr. Leadbeater in his own defence, all were convinced of his guilt, so that six voted for his expulsion from the T.S. and six for the acceptance of his resignation, in the vain hope of saving the T.S. from the results of his conduct. In 1908 a Committee of nine individuals, at least seven of whom were pledged E.S. members and utterly obedient to Mrs. Besant, met, examined some of the evidence and then stated that Leadbeater had been actuated by the highest motives and that there was nothing to warrant insinuations of personal misconduct. And this, mark you, after Leadbeater's own admission of guilt! Among the names is that of James I. Wedgwood! These people had no legal training or other qualifications to decide such an issue. In the Court proceedings in India in 1914 this was rejected by the presiding Judge, but it had served to silence me in 1922.
Twice more was I a guest in Martyn's home. In 1923 we discussed for hours the policy of the Independent Theosophical Society, of which we were foundation members, and again in 1924, shortly before his departure on a big financial mission. He left Sydney on August 22nd, 1924, and died at Ipoh, in the Federated Malay States on 9th October, 1924. Hard work and the strain of his terrible split with Mrs. Besant had proved too much and death came slowly and in great agony. Yet in a more inspired moment she had exalted him by saying that he was the embodiment of "skill in action"!
Owing to his hatred of personal publicity we shall never know how much he contributed in actual cash, but many an empty exchequer was refilled. In the period 1891 to 1921 a rough estimate which I made after his death suggested that his benefactions were not less than Thirty Thousand Pounds, at a time when the American Dollar was five to the Pound. In addition, his gifts to Mrs. Besant personally, and to her E.S., represented another Fifteen Thousand Pounds. She never hesitated to ask him for money when she needed it. There were several letters in his files showing that almost casually she would ask for a thousand pounds. His method was to "raid the Stock Exchange" and withdraw when the amount required was raised. By this means he protected his private fortune, and he left his family richly provided for. His unexpected death and the loss of his guidance left the Independent Theosophical Society
without real leadership, so that it pursued an erratic course. It still survives today, but under the shadow of Adyar's wing - a tiny segment of its former greatness.
Across the years I salute the greatest Theosophist I ever met personally with the exception of Annie Besant - the "A.B." of 1908. As I sit here, weaving this small wreath to the memory of Thomas Hammond Martyn, I see the moldering grave in far-away Ipoh, where the soft flash of fireflies illuminates the scented darkness, and the exotic perfumes of tropical plants make a kindly incense, while the wind on the palm-trees sings a perpetual requiem. It has never been revealed to us if he belonged to that heroic band of Exiles, of whom the most illustrious was William Quan Judge. But I think not. He left Judge in the hour of his trial, only to experience the blackness of the same ingratitude, the same crucifixion. For his epitaph I suggest these lines from Hermes Trismegistus:
Hitherto I have been an exile from my true country; now I return thither. Do not weep for me; I return to that celestial land where each goes in his turn.
Ernest Wood's QUESTION AND ANSWER BULLETIN
In it Professor Wood answers questions dealing with oriental philosophy, new thought, theosophy, etc.
The Bulletin will not be published on regular dates, but according to convenience. The subscription is $2.00 for six issues. All business matters and general correspondence will be dealt with by Hilda Wood, 1226 Ridgeley, Houston 24, Texas, U.S.A.
ANNUAL LETTER FROM THE UNITED LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS
June 21-25, 1959
There is a sense in which the United Lodge of Theosophists is an experiment, an attempt by ordinary human beings - by people who, as Mr. Crosbie once remarked, made this effort, not because they felt so well fitted to do it, but because there was no one else to try - an attempt to give pure continuity to a work begun in the world by H.P. Blavastky and William Q. Judge. They could not - would not pretend to be like those two, but they could give faithful study to what they taught, and practice it as well as they were able.
The experiment was to see if such ordinary people - who would be shamed and embarrassed by any claim or pretense of occult distinction - could keep alive and even spread the original Theosophic ideals and teachings in the world, by working in the light of certain simple rules and one paramount principle - never to let any personal element come between an inquirer into Theosophy and the original teachers of Theosophy.
The experiment was to see if energetic faithfulness to this principle could overcome the tendency, common in the history of every great religious and philosophical movement the world has known, to adulterate, dilute and finally to hide and forget the uncompromised courage and wisdom of its founders. In this fifty-first year of U.L.T. - however little else we may claim - we can say that the ideal of this kind of representation of the Theosophical Movement before the world has not dimmed; we can say that the experiment continues; and that the terms of its challenge and invitation to lovers of Theosophy remain essentially unchanged.
It was natural that the 50th Anniversary meeting, held on February 18th, should everywhere be an occasion for restatement of the aims and purposes of U.L.T., giving primary attention to the philosophic content of the U.L.T. Declaration and to the educational function of Theosophy magazine through continuous republication of the great articles of H.P.B. and Wm. Q. Judge with their breadth of view which was not only "theirs", but the natural birthright of every man.
Several events of import to students have marked the year now complete. First on the Calendar was the observance last August, in several cities in the United States, of H.P. Blavatsky's Birthday on August 11-12, by means of a meeting attended by members of various Theosophical bodies. The conception of this meeting was that all Theosophists, regardless of affiliation, could unite in honoring H.P.B. The meetings were sponsored by committees of students who met as individual theosophists, rather than as "delegates" of several societies or associations, and arrangements for meeting halls were made according to the best facilities available. The value of this meeting was in its evidence of a living devotion to the Messenger of the last century, regardless of organizational differences, and in its evidence of the capacity of various students to meet in confidence and mutual trust upon this measure of common ground. The subject considered at this 127th anniversary of H.P.B.'s birthday was The Three Objects.
There is indeed a temper of renewal of the common grounds among Theosophists; however situated, abroad in the movement. Appreciation of H.P.B. is becoming more substantially expressed, with some attention to Wm. Q. Judge among those who have in the past known little of this friend and colleague of H.P.B. While talk of organizational unity springs up and dies down, it seems generally understood that the best collaboration among Theosophists is that which can be pursued in consonance with positions taken and held under Karma, and from individual conviction, without forced pretense at a unity which does not exist at the philosophical level. Such, at any rate, is the prevailing view in U.L.T. lodges.
It is natural, also, for many to remember at this time the lifelong labors of B.P. Wadia, especially in behalf of the work in India, and to recall how he became a link between East and West in the Renaissance of the Movement which began in Los Angeles in 1909. Mr. Wadia died August 20, 1958. It is a gratifying vindication of U.L.T. principles that the work goes vigorously on in India, without talk or need of a "successor". U.L.T. methods of work are securely seated in that ancient land.
Another "event" of the year was publication of a new pamphlet, The Fundamentals of Theosophy, for which need has been felt for some time. This pamphlet is a fitting companion to the earlier one, What Is Theosophy?-Its Nonsectarian Spirit, and a fulfilling sequel to this intensive study of H.P. Blavatsky's view of what Theosophy is intended to accomplish in the world. The Fundamentals of Theosophy turns for material to the basic books - the Key to Theosophy, Isis Unveiled, and The Secret Doctrine - presenting an ordered statement of the fundamental principles, yet with all the engaging freshness of texts drawn from varying sources. The Bombay pamphlet, She Being Dead Yet Speaketh, fittingly completes the triad of pamphlets in this period.
In the larger theatre of world affairs, the need for Theosophy, and a growing receptivity to Theosophically-oriented thinking, becomes daily more apparent.
The modern world still tortures itself with uncertainties, fears, and suspicions, but even here a kind of fatigue from living in a time of crisis is having its beneficent effect. People are looking around for new ways of meeting the great dilemmas of the age. Here, again, Theosophy is needed, since psychism in more sophisticated guises is making its glamorous appeal to human weakness, and Western thought is notably unarmed against such insidious subleties. We may say, as H.P.B. declared long ago, that "Theosophy pure and simple, has still a severe battle to fight for recognition", and return to our work with stout hearts.
Sincerely, with fraternal greetings,
Parent United Lodge.
A CORRECTION BY J. M. PRENTICE
Recently, through the courtesy of The Canadian Theosophist, I received a copy of the "Conflation" (a new word to me) of the Bhagavad Gita, by the late A.E. Smythe. I was happy to receive it, and to add it to the other forty odd translations on my shelves. It is a very happy piece of work, but there is one error in the Introduction which it is now possible to correct. Therein is a reference to the three volumes of Studies in the Bhagavad Gita, by The Dreamer. In brackets is appended the name of Upendranath Basu, identifying him as The Dreamer. This is a mistake which has gone unchallenged for many years.
It is possible, at this late date, to place on record the identity of The Dreamer, which had to be concealed at the time these incomparable Studies were published. I know some of the reasons, but there is not now anything to be gained by rehearsing them. They were personal and important at that time. The real name of the Dreamer was Rajendra Lal Mukergee, a very distinguished lawyer resident in Calcutta. As far as I know he took no active part in the work of the Theosophical Society, but researchers may find him mentioned in the old volumes of The Theosophist prior to 1908. My information was given me confidentially many years ago (and subsequently confirmed from other sources) by the late Miss Lilian Edger, M.A., who was The Dreamer's close personal friend.
The only other work published over this pen name of which I have any knowledge is a small octavo volume in a paper covered binding, the name of which has escaped me. It was a critical review of Theosophical policy at the period (circa, 1908) and dealt drastically with the late C.W. Leadbeater. After reviewing much of the activity of that gentleman The Dreamer went on to say that the psychic path being followed by Mr. Leadbeater was a very dangerous path and could lead to appalling disaster, especially in the light of true Occultism.
Curiously enough this was confirmed, or rather supplemented by another Theosophical writer: the late Mrs. Walter Tibbetts, in her beautifully written The Voice of the Orient. My copy has long since disappeared, to my regret, but I remember vividly her account of how a group of Indian students approached Mrs. Besant at a fire walking ceremony at the time of one of the Benares Conventions, in 1906, and solemnly warned her of the danger which menaced the T.S., through the psychic revelations of Mr. Leadbeater, and how far removed these were from the pathway of true Occultism. Mrs. Tibbetts claimed that she was in the company of Mrs. Besant at the time. I have very good reasons for believing that the group included The Dreamer. It is well that these things should be placed on record, for future researchers into Theosophical history.
THE ORIGINAL PROGRAMME
Collated by T.H. Redfern
When Mme. Blavatsky was sent to America, her first work was among the Spiritualists with whom she identified herself as "a Spiritualist of many years' standing". "I proclaim myself a true Spiritualist" she wrote, but not one of those "fanatical Spiritualists, to be found in every country, who blindly accept the claims of every spirit". She defined the true spiritualist as one possessing "a firm belief in our souls' immortality and The Knowledge of a constant possibility for us to communicate with the spirits of our departed and loved ones, either through honest, pure mediums, or by means of the Secret Science".
Her initial task was to support the reality of genuine psychic phenomena, so helping to combat materialism, because the exposure of fraudulent mediums was reinforcing scepticism. She was permitted to use her own powers if necessary, but without letting it be known that she could produce the phenomena herself at will. She was instructed to go to the famous Eddy homestead, and she added to the phenomena occuring there through the mediumship of the Eddy brothers. There too she met Col. H.S. Olcott and was "ordered to let him know that spiritual phenomena without the philosophy of occultism were dangerous and misleading". She went to a faked seance and, helped by her Master, scared the wits out of the supposed medium by producing genuine materializations.
The next stage was "orders . . . to begin telling the public the truth about the phenomena and their mediums. And now my martyrdom will begin! I will have all the Spiritualists against me in addition to the Christians and the skeptics". She had made a link with the editor of The Spiritual Scientist, Mr. E. Gerry Brown, and interested him in an attempt to raise the level of Spiritualism through his paper. The Adepts were represented as "Oriental Spiritualists" - "it is not impossible that they will establish relations with those whom we are accustomed to regard as the leaders in Spiritualistic affairs; for, after a quarter century of phenomena we are almost without a philosophy to account for them or to control their occurrence". At this time Col. Olcott was being encouraged in his Miracle Club. An Adept wrote to him:
"Thou hast many good mediums around thee, don't give up thy club". A circular was prepared and printed over the name of "the Committee of Seven" of the "Brotherhood of Luxor", on the instruction of members of the Egyptian group of Adepts who were supervising this effort. It was to be based on the triangle of H.P.B., H.S.O. and Gerry Brown, focussing on the Miracle Club and The Spiritual Scientist. The circular announced that Spiritualism "had stimulated a large and constantly increasing number of superior minds into a desire and ability to grasp the laws which lie back of the phenomena themselves", but there was no adequate paper to serve their needs. The intention was to "devote more space to the discussion of principles, the teaching of philosophy, and the display of conservative, critical ability", and "the commendable tone" of The Spiritual Scientist would make it "comparatively easy" to secure "the cooperation of . . . . . writers whose names will be a guarantee of its success". But Gerry Brown (Continued on page 93)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
THE PRESIDENT AND THE GENERAL COUNCIL
In view of the forthcoming Presidential election, members may care to be reminded of the constitution of the International Society.
The General Council is the governing body of the Society, as incorporated in India in 1905. It consists of the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary and the General Secretaries of National Societies. To these is added a number of between five and ten Additional Members who include, (a) all Past Presidents of the Society still in active membership, (b) others nominated by the President and elected for three years by the General Council.
This General Council usually meets once a year during the Conventions, at Adyar or at Varanasi. Members who cannot attend may vote either in writing or by proxy. To make as far as possible certain of a quorum (five) it is laid down that at least seven members of the General Council must be resident in India.
The President is elected every seven years by every member in good stranding of the whole Society. Nominations are made by members of the General Council after consulting with the ruling body of their National Societies. There is an elaborate procedure by which in due course a list of candidates is drawn up to include, (a) up to three candidates chosen as having received the highest number of nominations, and (b) any further candidates nominated by more than half the members of the General Council. These are presented in order of the number of nominations received. In the event of there being only one candidate in the final list, a vote For or Against is taken from the whole Society. The candidate receiving the largest number of votes is elected.
After election, the new President nominates his Vice-President, who holds office until a new Vice-President is elected. The General Council confirms the nomination. In this way, if a President dies or retires, the Vice-President presides at the election of the new President, and there is no gap in the direction of the Society.
The Treasurer and Recording Secretary are appointed by the President.
These officers form an Executive Committee, together with a further number elected each year by the General Council. These members number not less than seven and not more than ten, and six at least must be members of the General Council.
The foregoing Is taken from the English Theosophical News & Notes and is self explanatory and, I think, timely, as Mr. Sri Ram's term of office as president ends this year and an election will take place. At the meeting of the General Executive held last July it was decided that the name of Mr. Sri Ram be submitted as the nominee of the Canadian Section, for another term of office as President of the Theosophical Society. I accordingly notified Adyar to this effect. The Rules allow us to submit three names but we feel that there is nobody else in the field who could fill the bill as well as he has. He has given good service, and is admired for his erudition and sympathetic outlook on worldly affairs. His modesty and kindly demeanor have endeared him to all who have had the pleasure of meeting him, and we feel sure that under his continued guidance our cause is in good hands.
Mr. Boris de Zirkoff after attending our Convention continued his extensive
tour and has sent me glowing accounts of the activities in Vancouver and Victoria. At both places he attended and spoke to many groups and meetings comprising members of the Canadian Section and the Canadian Federation as well as others interested in Theosophy. At each and all he found much enthusiasm and the greatest camaraderie which goes to prove that the different organizations can get along together without that amalgamation so ardently pursued by Mr. Spinks. It was also good to hear of the vitality of our lodges as observed by him and even more so to read his notes on the many members of ours who are outstanding and keenly devoted to our work in the West.
Many Toronto members will remember Mrs. Jardine who took such an interest in the Canadian Section quite a number of years ago before she left for South Africa. Whilst there she followed our vicissitudes by means of our magazine and continues to do so as a resident of London, England, where I met her during Convention. We spoke of old times and she was keenly interested in the news regarding our activities, and asked me most particularly to remember her with her best wishes and happy remembrances to all her old friends. This I am glad to do through this column.
It is with deep regret I announce the deaths of two members of long-standing. Mrs. Laura I. Hilchie passed away in London, Ontario on July 22. She was a member of the Toronto Lodge and joined in 1944. And Mrs. Carrie Matthews who joined the Society in 1929. I append a note sent me by the Secretary of the Montreal Lodge: "We regret to announce the passing of Mrs. Carrie Matthews of Montreal Lodge which occurred on August 4th at the home of her daughter in Toronto. Mrs. Matthews served as Librarian for many years, and this tribute concerning her quiet efficiency is sent by those of us who knew her best". To the families of these respected members we extend our deepest sympathy.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
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"Adverse opinions are like conflicting winds which brush from the quiet surface of a lake the green scum that tends to settle upon still waters . . . Mutual criticism is a most healthy policy, and helps to establish final and definite rules in life - practical, not merely theoretical. We have had enough of
theories." - Lucifer, Sept., 1892.
IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS
Students of Theosophy are for the most part familiar with Ouspensky's two previous contributions to the analysis of the occult, Tertium Organum and A New Model Of The Universe. The volume presently under review, In Search Of The Miraculous, published in New York in 1949, strikes out a new line, and ventures into wider fields.
Towards the end of 1914, at the beginning of that international catharsis of which the immediate symptom was the outbreak of the first of the great World Wars, Ouspensky found himself in St. Petersburg, occupied for the moment in press editorial work. Inwardly, his thinking and phliosophy had reached a point of crisis. In his own words, he "already knew that beyond the thin film of false reality there existed another reality from which, for some reason, something separated us", and he had reached the decision that "only by an entirely new road could man escape from the labyrinth of contradictions and confusions in which he lives". The "Search For The Miraculous" seemed to him to be the road that it would be necessary to follow.
It was quite one thing to feel sure that a road existed. Exactly where it began, and how to set out upon it was quite another. Schools existed, religious, moral-philosophical, and yogic, but to Ouspensky each of these presented some fatal flaw. Religious schools he dismisses as sentimental, though possibly he would have been nearer the mark if he had pointed out that they all begin with a foregone conclusion in the shape of a dogma or an ideology, and work backwards from the end, rejecting anything that even appears to question the predetermined conclusion.
The pursuit of moral philosophy may arrive at the development of a reconciliation of one's thinking and behavior with the state of things as they are, or appear to be, but does nothing to answer the insistent questions as to the reality behind the outward appearance of things. And the demands made by schools of yoga on the pupil were, in his opinion, too high a price to pay for the uncertainty as to whether, after all, they had the real answers to give.
It was while he was in this state of a somewhat undirected and groping search that Ouspensky came in contact with a Caucasian Greek with the somewhat unhellenic name of Gurdjieff. The meeting, sought by Gurdjieff, resulted from Ouspensky picking up and publishing in his paper an advance notice of a proposed ballet to be entitled "The Struggle Of the Magicians". It rapidly transpired that the proposed ballet had no existence beyond a roughed-out scenario, and had neither been written, composed, or scored. It was, however, the brain-child of one of Gurdjieff's occult study groups, and it was more than anything else with an idea of reaching a wider audience by way of the press, that Gurdjieff called on Ouspensky while he was in Moscow.
The ballet died aborning, but Ouspensky discovered a certain fascination in his new acquaintance's philosophy of life and the meaning of things. The rest of the book is made up of reports of lectures by "G", and contacts with various of G's study groups covering eight years in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Constantinople, London and Fontainbleau. Here and there Ouspensky comments, more or less editorially, on the material covered.
To the theosophical student, the prin-
cipal fascination of the book lies in the consistency with which G's teaching clashes with and contradicts the Ancient Wisdom as outlined in The Secret Doctrine, The Voice of The Silence, The Mahatma Letters, and other accepted source books covering that subject. If that were the only criticism, it might be possible to conceive that the more or less accepted theosophical ideas were in error, and in line for some drastic revision. But it is not. Leaving the whole question of the validity of the theosophic concepts out of the picture, it is only necessary to apply the rules of common logic to many of G's dogmas, or carry them out to their logical end, to see them collapse in a confusion of impossibility. The reader is invited to study G's explanation of the real (to him) meaning of The Last Supper, and meditate on its complete irreconcilability with inviolability of the Divine Body, the Lamb without blemish, on the one hand, and the simple physiological impossibility of the idea on the other. One might also apply common logic to the concept of Three Forces, Positive, Negative, and Neutral. A "neutral" force, acting in no direction at all is a contradiction in terms, a concept without any body of existence.
In G's Philosophy, no man ever acts. Events just happen, and man is borne along on a tide of happenings without any free will of his own, or for that matter any real consciousness. He is asleep, in a kind of hypnotic trance of which he is totally unaware. The Great War, which was around that time at its full height and intensity was simply something which had happened, and into which the participants were drawn without either conscious intent or will, and in due course when the impulse had exhausted itself, it would fade out and come to its appointed end. Those readers who lived through those days, will find it hard to believe that the Emperor William II of Germany woke up one morning to find himself in a war of which he had no foreknowledge or intent, or that the passionate dedication with which the vast majority of the antagonists threw themselves into the struggle was a kind of unconscious surrender to an unaccountable impulse. The twin doctrines of Dharma and Karma have something to say about this, but both of them concede to the individual a certain freedom of choice and selection pending the operation of the Cycle of Necessity. To G, humanity is the victim of one long cycle of necessity, without any choice in the matter.
To G, the achievement of self-realization is quite impossible, because man has no self to realize. There is no such thing as a continuing and dominant personality, with which it is possible to come to terms. Each individual (and in this context the very word becomes a contradiction in terms) is a different "I" with every changing moment. There is one "I" for superiors, another for equals, and yet another for inferiors, and each of these is a different "I" with no relation to, or responsibility for the others. One "I" can make a promise, and another "I" later on forget it, or be unaware of it, and default on the contract. That all these various "I's" are facets of the same diamond, and exhibited with conscious intent by the dominant and persisting Ego does not enter into G's philosophy. He seems unaware of the innumerable instances, recorded in authentic history, of people, men and women, who have held to and pursued one dominant goal through life, exhibiting on the way different features of themselves, provided only that the ultimate goal was achieved thereby. It would almost seem as though at some time G had superficially contacted the tenet of the impermanence of the personality, held by certain Buddhist sects,
only half understood it, and developed it down his own individual lines.
Throughout the whole book, that impression grows upon the reader who is in any way familiar with what is commonly accepted as the Ancient Wisdom. Undoubtedly G had contacted one or more of the Eastern Schools, or at least their exoteric similitude, and come away with a number of incomplete premises on which he proceeded to build a number of indefensible conclusions. His analysis of the reality of Man is an excellent concept of the Lower Quarternary as understood from various points of view, but the Higher Trinity, the Crown of the Saptaparna Plant, seems to have escaped him.
Which, in a way, is not to be wondered at. Questioned on the subject of survival in general, and the possibibility of reincarnation in particular, G asserts that the vast majority of mankind possess no astral body, and until they succeed in developing or creating one are merely of the dust to which they must return, and for whom no survival in any form is possible. There is of course, a road whereby this missing principle may be attained, and immortality realized, but what impulse should set this creature with no mind or purpose of his own upon the search for the Path is not quite clear. Possibly some form of Presbyterian predestination is at work here; it will "happen" to some to get it, and others will be passed by.
The teaching of Harmonic Octaves is interesting, but it is given in the Tonic Solfa notation, which is a foreign language to this reviewer. Competent musicians might care to work the data out, and pass understanding comment. But there is a mathematics of Harmonic Progression with which the writer is very familiar, and the one test applied had an unhappy ending. Three numbers given, 405, 400 and 384 are not a descending harmonic progression, or put a little differently, 400 is not the harmonic mean between 405 and 384. The formula is quite simple, and is here given in case a reader would care to test any of the other sequences. The Harmonic Mean between any two numbers is twice the product of those numbers divided by their sum. Put in general terms, the Harmonic Mean between A and B is twice A multiplied by B divided by A added to B. In the case under discussion, 394.22 plus comes out as the mean, and not 400. Straining at a gnat, possibly, but a Teacher who claims to have the key of the universe should at least be accurate in a matter of not very advanced mathematics.
One could go on indefinitely with this type of analysis, but time and space are not unlimited. One passes quickly the doctrine of the alternate retardation and acceleration of a body in motion with the remark that it is in complete negation of Newton's First Law of Motion, and has, up to this present, never been observed by any studious astronomer. It is also interesting to observe that the difficulty of acquiring knowledge is due to the fact that knowledge is of the nature of matter, and limited in amount. If sufficient of this "matter" is appropriated by a large enough number of people, what is left will become scarce, and hard to come by. That would suggest some cautious selection in teaching children the multiplication table, lest there should not be enough multiplication table available for the needs of the whole class!
How then is mankind to awake from this condition of semi-hypnotic sleep, and attain that waking consciousness in which he can become aware of himself? There is the Way of the Fakir, the Way of the Monk, and the Way of the Yogi. But all these ways are incomplete, and can only end in failure and frustration. There remains a Fourth Way, which G describes as "taking a little pill".
Whether he is advocating one of those extensions of consciousness which substances of the order of mescalin can induce, or whether the "little pill" to be swallowed is an allusion to G's special teaching is a point not made clear in the context, and must be left to the intuition of the student.
There are students and admirers of Ouspensky and his guru, G, who maintain that that is indeed the case. There is an esoteric, subtle teaching of profound truth in all this illogicality and contradiction, but like the Alchemists of old, G has hidden it under that mask with deliberate intent to shield it from those materialists to whom logic has some value, and the conclusions of the sciences some validity. Perhaps such a disciple might care to submit a counter-review of the book, unless, of course, the prohibition against discussing any teaching outside the bounds of the selected Group stays his hand.
Let us take an image. An embassy comes out from the King and carries his message to some far-off land. An embassy does not exist for itself. It exists for the sake of the King who sends it, for the sake of the country to which it carries its message.
Such an embassy to all the religions of the world is the Theosophical Society in its meaning. It brings a message from the Great King; it comes to a country in order to tell its message; it has no object to gain for itself; no reward which it can claim for obeying its Ruler; it carries its message from the Great King; it comes to a country in order to tell its message; it carries its message and proclaims it and leaves it to be accepted or rejected as the particular nation wills. Such an embassy from the Masters of the Race is the Theosophical Society to the religions and nations of the world.
- The Bombay Theosophical Bulletin.
To the Editor of
The Canadian Theosophist:
At a recent Theosophical meeting someone asked if sex-passion could not be killed out by simply working it to death! Naturally The Voice of The Silence was quoted from in answer to this dangerous question: "Do not believe that lust can ever be killed out if gratified or satisfied, for this is an abomination inspired by Mara. It is by feeding vice that it expands and waxes strong, like to the worm that fattens on the blossom's heart."
It started us talking about the teaching that sex belongs in the past, that humanity should have reattained its androgynous state ages ago. That sex does exist - and dynamically so - is the result of nothing but willful self-indulgence extending back to Atlantis. Our worst point, spiritually speaking, was in the middle of the 4th sub-race of the 4th Root Race, and we face a similar turning point in the middle of the 4th sub-race of our present Aryan Root Race. The number of human egos that will fail when this cycle comes may be appalling, and it will be due primarily to an unnatural hunger for sex-sensation.
The Bhagavad-Gita points out that ". . . if, indulging self-confidence, thou sayest `I will not fight', such a determination will prove itself vain, for the principles of thy nature will impel thee to engage." What does this mean except that the time must come when the awakening higher principles can no longer maintain their link with the human ego unless it gives up its allegiance to the animal nature? This critical stage will be forced upon us by time and experience "when the man has accumulated unto himself innumerable existences." It will not be - as romantic occult novelists would have us believe - a lovely hour when we happily (Continued on page 95)
A POET'S DREAM WORLD
By Elsie Pomeroy
English literature abounds with the names of authors who wrote stories, poems and plays which they found in a dream-world. "Kubla Khan" by Coleridge has remained the classic example of a poem which came to the poet when asleep. George Russell (AE) once said that sleep showed him whole new worlds and his Song and Its Fountains tells of many ventures into what he called "the land across the border." The Green Goddess, which twenty years ago was referred to as "that perfect example of melodrama," came to the author, William Archer, in a dream. The many admirers of Robert Louis Stevenson were interested to learn that Stevenson attributed many of the most dramatic moments in his stories, including "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", to his experiences when he lay asleep. In literary circles Walter de la Mare, who died in 1956, was renowned for what he called dream-poetry. To Canadians, therefore, it is particularly interesting to learn about the dream-world of the Father of Canadian Literature, Sir Charles G.D. Roberts.
Like the writers already mentioned, Roberts found stories and poems in his dream-world. Two stories that he dreamed, "The Stone Dog" and "In The Accident Ward," were published in his first volume of nature stories, Earth's Enigmas, and a third story, "The Hill of Chastisement," which also came to him as a dream, was included in the second edition of the same volume. Alike in their origin; although written at wide intervals apart, they were also alike in their grim symbolism and, with the exception of the explanatory conclusion most obviously added to the second story, they appear exactly as they were dreamed. "The Stone Dog," which Roberts called his first important story, was written in Toronto in the early summer of 1884, during the poet's brief free lance period after his resignation from Goldwin Smith's The Week. The writer clearly recalls hearing Roberts tell the story almost sixty years later. Judging by his tone and expression it might have been a real adventure of the day before. "I woke up," he said, "feeling the blunt pressure of the beast's stone teeth in my right shoulder," and quite unconsciously he reached up with his hand to feel the still sore spot.
"In The Accident Ward" has less than a thousand words including the manufactured and detrimental conclusion. As I wrote in the Biography of Roberts: '"The Dream" proper is so jewel-like among psychological stories that one cannot refrain even at this late day from lamenting that the market required a practical explanation as suggested by the title.' The description of the blood-red path gleaming among the soft gray of the overhanging grasses has a haunting effect which is intensified by the appearance of a ghost-like person in grey who flies from the summit of the hill, pursued by a tall and terrible figure the color of the grasses. The pursuer, it seemed, was the Second Death.
"The Hill of Chastisement" is probably the most powerful. The story opened with a description of a cave-mouth in which the hero of the story was doing penance for his sin. Through the smoke, which rolled up from the abyss below, flamed grinning faces which laughed at times, "thinly in a whisper," expecting his rejection. It was a hideous scene. After many days of penance he grew aware that he must
tread the path that led all about the hill, reaching the cave from the other side. The horror of that walk and the ghoulish laughter from the sinister faces in the smoke, the reader could never forget. Neither could he forget the will or the soul that made the penitent rise bleeding again and again and stumble on. Finally he reached what he thought was a wayside calvary. His heart almost burst with joy as he clung to the base of the upright.
"As I grasped my sanctuary, the air rang with loud laughter; the faces coming out of the smoke, sprang wide-eyed and flaming close about me; a red flare shattered the darkness. Clutching importunately, I lifted up my eyes. My refuge was not a calvary. I saw it clear. It was a reeking gibbet."
In the same manner Roberts found certain poems in his dream-world. "The Night Sky," for instance, was written during his early years when lecturing at King's College, Windsor, Nova Scotia. On this particular morning he suffered a severe headache and lay down to rest, hoping to be ready for his lectures later in the day. It was at this time that he dreamed the poem and wrote it down in a half-awakened condition. It is interesting to note that the philosophy expressed in the poem is directly opposite to that which is so often expressed by the poet.
The Night Sky*
O deep, of Heaven, 'tis thou alone are boundless,
'Tis thou alone our balance shall not weigh,
'Tis thou alone our fathom-line finds soundless, -
Whose infinite our finite must obey!
Through thy blue realms and down thy starry reaches
Thought voyages forth beyond the furthest fire,
And, homing from no sighted shoreline, teaches
Thee measureless as is the soul's desire.
O deep of Heaven, no beam of Pleiad ranging
Eternity may bridge thy gulf of spheres!
Thy ceaseless hum that fills thy sleep unchanging
Is rain of the innumerable years.
Our worlds, our suns, our ages, these but stream
Through thine abiding like a dateless dream.
[* Published in The Independent in 1890.]
New York Nocturnes, a volume of poems published in 1898, contained "Beyond the Tops of Time," another poem which Roberts found in his dream-world. When he woke up he wrote down immediately several whole stanzas and the formative part of others. The poem remained a favorite. In Selected Poems, which the poet himself edited and which was published in 1936, this poem is included under the new title, "The Tower Beyond the Tops of Time."
How long it was I did not know,
That I had waited, watched, and feared.
It seemed a thousand years ago
The last pale lights had disappeared.
I knew the place was a narrow room
Up, up beyond the reach of doom.
Then came a light more red than flame: -
No sun-dawn, but the soul laid bare
Of earth and sky and sea became
A presence burning everywhere;
And I was glad my narrow room
Was high above the reach of doom.
Windows there were in either wall,
Deep cleft, and set with radiant glass,
Where through I watched the mountains fall,
The ages wither up and pass.
I knew their doom could never climb
My tower beyond the tops of time.
A sea of faces then I saw,
Of men who had been, men long dead.
Figured with dreams of joy and awe,
The heavens unrolled in lambent red;
While far below the faces cried -
"Give us the dream for which we died!"
Ever the woven shapes rolled by
Above the faces hungering.
With quiet and incurious eye
I noted many a wondrous thing, -
Seas of clear glass, and singing streams,
In that high pageantry of dreams;
Cities of sard and chrysoprase
Where choired Hosannas never cease;
Valhallas of celestial frays,
And lotus-pools of endless peace;
But still the faces gaped and cried -
"Give us the dream for which we died!"
At length my quiet heart was stirred,
Hearing them cry so long in vain.
But while I listened for a word
That should translate them from their pain
I saw that here and there a face
Shone, and was lifted from its place,
And flashed into the moving dome
An ecstasy of prismed fire.
And then said I, "A soul has come
To the deep zenith of desire!"
But still I wondered if it knew
The dream for which it died was true.
I wondered - who shall say how long?
(One heart-beat? - Thrice ten thousand years?)
Till suddenly there was no throng
Of faces to arraign the spheres, -
No more white faces there to cry
To those great pageants of the sky.
Then quietly I grew aware
Of one who came with eyes of bliss
And brow of calm and lips of prayer
Said I, "How wonderful is this!
Where are the faces once that cried -
`Give us the dream for which we died'?"
The answer fell as soft as sleep,-
"I am one of those who, having cried
So long in that tumultuous deep,
Have won the dream for which we died."
And then said I, "Which dream is true?
For many were revealed to you!"
He answered, "To the soul made wise
All true, all beautiful they seem.
But the white peace that fills our eyes
Outdoes desire, outreaches dream.
For we are come unto the place
Where always we behold God's face!"
In 1907 Roberts went abroad and made his home in France during the next three years. During these years he wrote nature stories which appeared regularly every month in The Windsor Magazine in England and in American magazines as well. He wrote only one poem, and that, strangely enough, in his sleep.
He dreamed that he was spending the evening with his American friend, Mrs. Morris, at her apartment in Paris; and while he relaxed in a comfortable chair in the corner, Mrs. Morris, standing by the mantel light across the room, was reading his poems. Suddenly in his dream he sat up alert. "I never wrote that," he said. "Nonsense," she replid, "it is one of your best." "Read it again," he said. She read it again, more slowly. With the cadence of her voice in the last stanza still echoing in his ears he woke up, hardly able to realize that he had been dreaming. He at once wrote down the whole poem as he had dreamed it. A title afterwards given to the poem - it had none in his dream - "The Place of His Rest." It is published in his Collected Poems.
Roberts's last poem, "Oh, Clear and High Summons the Trumpet," was written in April, 1942. It also, is connected with his dream-world. In a note book labelled Dreams I carefully recorded any dream which he related to me and usually in his own words. The following was dated Sunday, August 12, 1934. Dr. R. talked at supper time about the various lines of poetry which have been coming to him at the present time, lines which are quite unrelated and belonging to no poem. "But I put them all down," he added, "this is one of them - `Clear and loud summons the trumpet'." He gave the poem the title "Resurgent - A Song for the Nations Submerged". The line from his drearm-world is often used:
Oh, clear and high summons the trumpet
Before the gates of Dawn.
That one line, "Clear and high summon the trumpets," remained the one poetical link with his dream-world during the poet's years in Toronto. Nor did he find any stories in his dream-world at that time. He continued to dream, however, often carrying that mood on through the day. This was particularly true concerning the dreams about his father which were carefully recorded in the Dream notebook. Three of these dreams are to be found in the Biography.
Dream visits with his father were by no means the only visits to his dream, world during these years. "The Precipice Dream," which he so often told as a joke on himself, is found in the Biography. This dream was unusual for rarely are dreams marked by humor.
The rapturous emotion with which he related "The Cathedral Dream" can be easily imagined.
It might be said that he again found a lyrical note in his dream-world in the early days of the Second World War, December 18, 1939:
"I dreamed last night that I was with a party of Finns and all were singing estactically a song for which I had written both words and music. The chorus was (he sang it):
O my Finlandia, Finlandia, the Golden;
O my Finlandia, Finlandia, the free!"
He sang the chorus over and over again, hoping that the song as a whole might come back to him; and was so obviously disappointed when no new line presented itself.
Although he told me no new dream about his father in those closing years, he frequently referred to the fact that he had recently dreamed about his father. As usual he was deeply affected by the dream. In fact he rarely seemed to be able to dismiss them as just dreams. It was by no means rare to hear him remark at the close of a silent evening, particularly during the last months when he was so ill, "I dreamed about Father last night. It made me feel lonely all day."
The last dream, recorded in full in the Dream notebook, was unusually interesting and makes a very happy conclusion to the story about the poet's dream-world.
October 13, 1941.
I dreamed I was in Nice with a crowd of friends - people I knew from many countries and all brought together in a curious dream-like manner. Finally I put on my overcoat and, taking my hat and briefcase, I bid everyone goodbye and said: "I'm taking the boat for Gibraltar." At the shore I met a stranger who said he also was taking the boat. But we soon learned that the boat had gone. "Well," said the stranger, "we might just as well swim." I agreed. So without taking the trouble of removing our clothes,
or even our shoes, we walked into the water and began to swim leisurely towards Gibraltar.
The briefcase was troublesome but the stranger would take a turn at holding it. On we swam, talking as the mood seized us. Night came and we continued to swim, never resting nor feeling the need to rest. Morning came and by noon we could see the giant height of Gibraltar.
To avoid the rock we swam around to the other side where we saw a ship. Coming nearer we could see that the Captain, dressed like a Spaniard of the cinema, lay asleep on the deck. We called, woke him up, and asked him if he would take us into the harbor. He agreed. In a few minutes we got on board - and at that minute I woke up. The long leisurely swim left me feeling curiously refreshed. I still have a vivid picture of the beautiful starlit night. The dreams contain a wide range of the many elements of human emotions - horror, joy, anxiety, rapture, fear, security, fantasy, humor, tragedy - all touched with an intensity not ordinarily experienced in our waking state. One can only speculate upon the nature of dreams; are they the remembrances of events objectively experienced by the ego while it is awake when the body sleeps - or are they all subjective and entirely within our deeper consciousness whose partial reflection we know as the waking consciousness? Does the ego leave the body during sleep or does it merely move inward to other depths of its own nature? Who can say? I would not venture an opinion on this, but I do know that whether the dreams of Sir Roberts were objective or subjective, they indicate a rare capacity to have unusual dreams and to remember them in detail on awakening, a capacity which remained with him during his long lifetime.
(Continued from page 82)
backed down, and H.P.B. wrote in her scrapbook: "The man might have become a POWER, he preferred to remain an Ass". The plan had failed, the Egyptian group of Adepts withdrew, and the Miracle Club collapsed.
Instead H.P.B. received "Orders . . . from India direct to establish a philosophico-religious Society and choose a name for it - also to choose Olcott". The name was "The Theosophical Society", and the coloration of her mission became more Indo-Tibetan. References to Spiritualism were only incidental in Col. Olcott's inaugural address as President; and in the 1878 circular about the Society's "origin, plan and aims", acquiring "an intimate knowledge of natural law, especially its occult manifestations", was set before the Fellows as a goal, but Spiritualism was not mentioned at all. The initial identification had been shed completely, and H.P.B. subsequently wrote: "I never was a Spiritualist"; but again she defined the sense in which she then used the word as meaning one who accepts "the spiritualistic `philosophy', so-called . . . I have always known the reality of mediumistic phenomena, and defended that reality".
The explanations about Spiritualism continued however. Materializations are not departed spirits, H.P.B. declared. They are simulacra, "eidolons, masks", talking portrait-statues, made from the medium's own physical substance - "ectoplasm", as we would now say. They are molded by thought, and can be photographed as "spirit" photos; but spirits cannot materialize, she said, though souls surviving in an awakened state in the world of desire after death may, on rare occasions, use such an instrument of communication before the second death. This is a separation of the spiritual part from a discarded
"shell" of psychological habit-patterns that continues as a psycho-dynamic automaton for a while until it gradually disperses. "This relic, this dross left behind in the crucible when the refined gold, was taken, is commonly the `angel guide' of the average medium" in the local Spiritualist rooms at the humdrum weekly meetings. A materialization may take on the identifiable characteristics of such a shell, but this is not the spirit - the spirit has gone from it. There are also non-human elementals or nature-spirits who prankishly play through such materializations, having no respect for the human sentiments of those taking part in the seances.
There is a similar risk of deception and impersonation in the various modes of subjective mediumship. The medium may reproduce mannerisms or information derived telepathically, or by rapport with a "shell", or by elemental play; but it can be genuine, and it can be harmful to the one who has passed on unless the second death is over. A true spirit, however, who has passed the second death, cannot descend to a medium, and can be communicated with only if the medium is so pure and unselfish that rapport is possible with one who has left behind all defilements of personal desire and entered the devachanic state in a heaven-life. These communions with true spirits are a blessing, but the medium has nothing but sustained purity for protection against the dangers of baneful influences.
We are all mediums in some degree, "except a genuine blockhead", for "a person who is not a Medium is a monster, an abortion of nature". Likewise we are all somewhat mad, but as we only call a man insane if he can no longer take care of himself and his affairs, so we only call a person a medium when he has so lost control of his actions that he is liable to be involuntarily possessed by unseen powers and entities. The only positive security for a medium is to bring the faculty under control and convert it into a deliberate spiritual mediatorship, so that only those who are known, worthy and welcome are permitted expression through the mediator's vehicles. Safety lies in purity and mastery, and nowhere else. "Radiating around an atmosphere of divine beneficence, such holy men caused evil spirits to flee before them. Not only is it not possible for such to exist in their aura, but they cannot even remain in that of obsessed persons, if the thaumaturgist exercises his will, or even approaches them. This is MEDIATORSHIP, not mediumship. Such persons are temples in which dwell the spirit of the living God", and this is the real Spiritualism.
So the Adepts promulgated through H.P. Blavatsky, A.P. Sinnett and The Theosophical Society a coherent explanation of psychic phenomena and life after death in which the experiences of Spiritualists fall into place in an intelligible pattern. The aim of the original program included "trying . . . to enlarge the views of the Spiritualists by showing them that there are other, many other agencies at work in the production of phenomena besides the `Spirits' of the dead".
These explanations are not for dogmatic imposition however. A member or enquirer is only asked to consider, on the responsibility of his own honest judgment, whether they make more sense than either evidence-rejecting scepticism or face-value credulity that accepts everything as what it purports to be. "A great respect for the private views . . . of every member" is demanded. "We do not believe in the agency of `disembodied spirits' in the physcial mediumistic phenomena, but it gives us no right for all that, to dogmatize and try to force others to reject
their belief . . . The last word has not yet been told of these phenomena . . . As Theosophists, i.e., searchers after truth who claim no infallibility, we say that the Spiritualists after all may be as right in their way as we think we are right in ours", wrote H.P.B. in 1881.
Is the earnest faith of Spiritualists - "that the spirits of those whom they loved best on earth, their mothers, children, friends, are ever near them, though their bodies may be gone" - less "respectable" or worthy of sympathy "than that of the Christians?" she asked. "Is belief in the Holy Ghost . . . less blind than belief in the `ghosts' of our departed fathers and mothers? . . . Surely we `imbibe with our mother's milk' as much love for her as for a mythical `Mother of God'. And if one is not to be regarded as a superstition then how far less the other!"
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decide to blossom into sainthood. It will be a time of fierce desperation when the God within can no longer endure the coarse vibrations of lust and selfishness. And then we shall either vanquish the beast at the Threshold and merge with Divinity, or, if our link with the animal is too strong and we are too weak, share its fate of disintegration.
It is not a pretty picture, - actually, a pretty terrible one, but something that the amateur saviour of humanity should begin contemplating and, equally important, do something about. Too many of us regard ourselves with pseudo-amusement as naughty little children who may deserve an occsaional spanking.
It is not enough to read Theosophical books, lecture, teach, and go about serene with higher knowledge. We should evoke the will and determination to face ourselves in the stillness of the night and conquer this demon
It must eventually be done; and with every passing day the lower nature, pampered and fed, - perhaps reluctantly, but still fed, - grows stronger and more insistent. "Strive, with thy thoughts unclean," wrote H.P.B. in The Voice Of The Silence, "before they overpower thee. Use them as they will thee, for if thou sparest them and they take root and grow, know well, these thoughts will overpower and kill thee. Beware, Disciple, suffer not, e'en though it be their shadow, to approach. For it will grow, increase in size and power, and then this thing of darkness will absorb thy being before thou hast well realized the black foul monster's presence." Is it not time that we were "about our Father's business," which is doing, as the Adept-author of Through The Gates of Gold tells us, the only thing really worth doing; studying ourself, seeing the animal nature for what it is, and taking a final, do-or-die stand against it? That it can be conquered is shown by the existence of the Masters and the Gods who, as men, fought the battle and won.
Dare anyone deny that the man who calls himself Theosophist and still entertains sex-passion in his life is not reliving an abomination of dead Atlantis? How long must he grovel, spellbound, before the dazzling jewel of Mara? He should be beyond it - tens of thousands of years beyond it - breathing a new and richer air, walking shoulder to shoulder with his Inner God, blessing and serving humanity with that Divine Love which is the heart of the universe. Over the Gates of the Path is written the word "TRY". Let him try now, secure in the knowledge that, fighting beside him to the end, is that Divine Warrior, the Higher Self, who can never know defeat.
- George Cardinal LeGros.
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