Vol. XL. No. 5 Toronto, November - December, 1959 Price 35 Cents
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document
THE GOD IN MAN
By Iverson L. Harris
What is this God in Man? Without attempting to define it, one may point to some of its recognizable attributes and characteristics:
It is that element in us which responds to the appeal of the good, the true and the beautiful. It is that part of our constitution which goads us to divine discontent with our everyday selves, that refuses to be satisfied with our existence as merely intelligent animals and spurs us to aspire and strive towards at-one-ment with our Higher Self, our Real Self, Itself - the God within. It is that factor in us which makes us truly human - creatures that not merely eat, sleep and reproduce, as do all the other mammals, but use the God-given faculty of mind to penetrate the secrets of Nature - physical and metaphysical - as do the really great scientists and philosophers. The godhood in us enables us to realize that all men are brothers - not merely on a sentimental basis, which is not always reliable, but because in our spiritual natures we are all sprung from the same Source.
In The Secret Doctrine H.P. Blavatsky lifts our thoughts towards this Universal Source and towards the God within, "The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart - invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through `the still small voice' of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence." - I, 280.
In ancient China, in the 7th Century, B.C., the Statesman - Philosopher Kuantze erected a luminous philosophical literary signpost along the pathway leading man towards recognition of, and at-one-ment with, the God within. He spoke of:
" `a mind within the mind' that bears to the economy of man the same relation that the sun bears to the sky . . . It is a shen, a divinity . . . The place that man prepares for it is called its temple (kung). `Throw open the gates, put self aside, bide in silence, and the radiance of spirit shall come in and make its home . . . Only where all is clean will the spirit abide. All men desire to know, but they do not enquire into that whereby one knows
. . . What a man desires to know is that (i.e. the external world). But his means of knowing is this (i.e. himself). How can he know that? Only by the perfection of this.' " - Arthur Waley,
The Way and Its Power, p. 47
Jesus told his disciples:
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." - Matthew, V. 48.
He proved that this was no impossible ideal to strive towards, by himself demonstrating a life of relative perfection for his earthly sojourn in one incarnation.
A hymn from the Rig-Veda (iii, 62, 10) , known as the Gayatri or Savitri has been held sacred from time immemorial in Hindusthan. It, too, is an eternal challenge to man to raise his consciousness to the God within. As paraphrased by Dr. de Purucker, it reads in English translation:
"O thou golden sun of most excellent splendour,
Illumine our hearts and fill our minds, so that we,
Recognizing our oneness with the Divinity, which is the heart of the Universe,
May see the Pathway before our feet, and tread it to those distant goals of perfection,
Stimulated by thine own radiant light."
This is the pathway that spiritually-minded people everywhere are treading, mayhap unconsciously, no doubt often with faltering footsteps, but always with their eyes on "those distant goals of perfection," stimulated by the radiant light of their own Higher Selves - the God within. This pathway is the shortcut of self-directed evolution which our Theosophical teachers and guides point out to their disciples - for, of course, discipleship implies preceptorship; and to scale the heights with safety the successful mountain-climber avails himself of the services of an experienced pathfinder or guide.
Many of us have found an exhaustless source of inspiration and help in a devotional book called The Voice of the Silence, translated and annotated by H.P. Blavatsky from The Book of Golden Precepts, for the daily use of Disciples, and `dedicated to the few'. If I were deprived of all other reading, but still could have this book, I should not feel forsaken; for, as has been truly said, he who is accompanied by high thoughts is never alone; and there are lofty, sublime, transcendent thoughts on every page of this masterpiece. And they are not merely bare verbal pointers along the way: they are beautifully lettered signs, wreathed and garlanded with the flowers of exquisitely woven language; so that a lover of lofty poetry and music can read its majestic concepts with sheer delight in their rhythmic imagery. In guiding us along the path, H.P.B. tells us: "Three Halls, O weary Pilgrim, lead to the end of toils." The name given to the first Hall is Ignorance; to the second, the Hall of Probationary Learning; to the third, the Hall of Wisdom. With unerring knowledge of real psychology, `the science of the soul', she writes:
"If thou would'st cross the first Hall safely, let not thy mind mistake the fires of lust that burn therein for the sunlight of life.
"If thou would'st cross the second safely, stop not the fragrance of its stupefying blossoms to inhale. If freed thou would'st be from the karmic chains, seek not for thy Guru in those mayavic regions."
A footnote explains that this refers to:
"The astral region, the psychic world of supersensuous perceptions and of deceptive sights - the world of
mediums . . . It is the world of the Great Illusion."
"The WISE ONES tarry not in pleasure-grounds of senses.
"The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of illusion.
"Seek for him who is to give thee birth, in the Hall of Wisdom, the Hall which lies beyond, wherein all shadows are unknown, and where the light of truth shines with unfading glory."
The foregoing instructions from The Voice of the Silence will appeal only to the God in man. They will mean little, if anything, to the man who is unaware of the existence of the God within, and whose mind has never been lighted by its radiance,
"For mind is like a mirror; it gathers dust while it reflects. It needs the gentle breezes of Soul-wisdom to brush away the dust of our illusions. Seek, O Beginner, to blend thy Mind and Soul."
Those who have sought to quench their spiritual and intellectual thirst at the Pierian Spring of H.P.B.'s encyclopaedic writings know that the path of discipleship, of union with the God within, has been clearly set forth by her. It is two paths converging into one: the path of dedicated service to our fellowmen and the path of learning in order that we may better fit ourselves to render that service effectively.
How may one distinguish a true Teacher, such as H.P.B. proved herself to be, from self-deluded or fraudulent egoists, who have, alas, afflicted the ranks of various societies and pseudo-occult organizations since her death? "Ye shall know them by their fruits" - by the doctrine that they teach, by the life that they live, by the compassion that they show, by the light that they shed about them; by these insignia majestatis, may one know the real teacher. But unless there is something akin to his spirit stirring within our own souls, we cannot recognize such a teacher, though he speak with the tongue of an angel and come with a direct mandate from the Great White Lodge itself.
The poets of vision in their moments of high inspiration, intuitively recognize the light of the God in man. As examples Shakespeare has Hamlet exclaim:
"What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how
like a god!" - Act II, Sc. 2
In his `Intimations of Immortality' Wordsworth sings:
"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home."
In his Paracelsus, Browning proclaims these everlasting truths:
"Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate'er you may believe.
There is an inmost centre 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."
Kenneth Morris ends one of his inspired `Meditations' called `Night' with these fine lines:
"Questing the Peace of the Seers, to the loved we mourned, departed; To the souls of the hate-marred here, -there, clear as stars of the morn; - To the God in me throned in the heaven-worlds, I go forth mystery-hearted, On the wings of the Lonely Bird, the Soul, up-borne."
We hear much, these days, about `the free world'. Far be it from me to underrate the blessings which are ours to enjoy, in our freedom to pursue the courses of our individual lives as best we may, according to our heredity, our environment, our economic means, and our own capabilities. So long as we obey the laws of our respective countries and do not harm others, we feel ourselves to be `free' men. And so we are, within certain well-recognized limits. But the pathway of discipleship implies something far more difficult to follow, and much more rare. The aspirant towards at-one-ment with the Inner God cannot be satisfied with merely doing what he desires to do; he must strive continuously to desire less and less for himself personally and to lay his desires on the altar of impersonal service to his fellowmen - always, of course, within the boundaries of karmic duties. This is a lonely path to tread; but it leads eventually to a freedom that far transcends the pursuit of personal ends.
How may one safely set one's feet upon this path leading eventually, step by step, through many incarnations, to final liberation or Moksha? In The Mahatma Letters one reads:
"The truth is that till the neophyte attains to the condition necessary for that degree of Illumination to which, and for which, he is entitled and fitted, most if not all of the Secrets are incommunicable. The receptivity must be equal to the desire to instruct. The illumination must come from within. Till then no hocus pocus of incantations, or mummery of appliances, no metaphysical lectures or discussions, no self-imposed penance can give it. All these are but means to an end, and all we can do is to direct the use of such means as have been empirically found by the experience of ages to conduce to the required object. And this was and has been no secret for thousands of years. Fasting, meditation, chastity of thought, word and deed; silence for certain periods of time to enable Nature herself to speak to him who comes to her for information; government of the animal passions and impulses; utter unselfishness of intention, the use of certain incense and fumigation for physiological purposes, have been published as the means since the days of Plato and Iamblicus in the West, and since the far earlier times of our Indian Rishis. How these must be complied with to suit each individual temperament is of course a matter for his own experiment and the watchful care of his tutor or Guru." (P. 283. )
In that part of The Voice of the Silence dealing with `The Two Paths', it is stated:
"If thou art told that to become Arhan thou hast to cease to love all beings - tell them they lie."
Actually, on the path of discipleship human affections are made increasingly beautiful, because they are, in large measure, sublimated in the alembic of service to impersonal ends:
"Bear love to men as though they
were thy brother-pupils, disciples of one teacher, the sons of one sweet mother."
Real brotherliness for one's codisciple implies a love that rejoices in his triumphs - especially those of a spiritual nature, a love that bares a sympathetic heart when a brother is passing through the trials that are inseparable from life on earth, a love that recognizes in the smile of a Comrade the greeting of an incarnate god.
When we have succeeded in raising our consciousness, even temporarily, towards the godhood which is our real, our highest SELF, mayhap we shall be able to share in some of the daring concepts of the Masters themselves. For example in The Mahatma Letters we read:
"The culture of Society more often inclines to lawn-tennis philosophy than to that of the banned `adepts', whose wider game has worlds for balls, and etheric space for its shaven lawn." (P. 339. )
How may one qualify to share in this magnificent philosophy of the Masters? By following the path which the Great Ones - the Sages and Seers of all times - have pointed out to us - a pathway that is so easy to follow, in one sense, that many of us miss it because we cannot or will not obey the simple rules that have been given through the ages. The Buddha taught them in his Noble Eightfold Path: Right understanding, right resolution, right speech, right action, right way of earning a livelihood, right effort, right thought, and right meditation. Some five hundred years later Jesus gave them to us in the Sermon on the Mount.
These simple rules of conduct are quite as essential to those seeking at-onement with the Inner God as are the transcendental virtues described in The Voice of the Silence. The Master K.H. offers these words of encouragement to the man earnestly seeking to tread this path:
"Does it seem to you a small thing that the past year has been spent only in your `family duties'? Nay, but what better cause for reward, what better discipline, than the daily and hourly performance of duty? Believe me my `pupil', the man or woman who is placed by Karma in the midst of small plain duties and sacrifices and loving-kindnesses, will through these faithfully fulfilled rise to the larger measure of Duty, Sacrifice and Charity to all Humanity - what better path towards the enlightenment you are striving after than the daily conquest of Self, the perseverance in spite of want of visible psychic progress, the bearing of ill-fortune with that serene fortitude which turns it to spiritual advantage - since good and evil are not to be measured by events on the lower or physical plane." - The Mahatma Letters, Page 372.
According to the degree of our own self-directed evolution and the identification of the man with the God within, are we able to recognize and appreciate the great spiritual Sages and Seers, in whom the God in man was manifest in superlative degree. As we strive to raise our consciousness to their plane of thought and action, we are for the time enjoying the august company of the Great Ones, the Spiritual Teachers whose very existence is the most potent factor in the upward progress of humanity. They have been the makers or the inspirers of all that is noblest and finest in the civilizations of the past and of the present: Krishna, the Buddha, Sankaracharya, Lao-Tse, Confucius, Pythagoras, Plato, Quetzalcohuatl, Jesus - not to mention others of less renown, though perhaps not always of less spiritual stature.
Carlyle rightly declared:
"No sadder proof can be given by a man of his own littleness than disbelief in great men."
And Emerson wrote in Representative Men:
"The Koran makes a distinct class of those who are by nature good, and whose goodness has an influence on others, and pronounces this class to be the aim of creation: the other classes are admitted to the feast of being, only as following in the train of this. And the Persian poet exclaims to a soul of this kind, -
" `Go boldly forth, and feast on being's banquet;
Thou art the called, - the rest admitted with thee.'."
The God in Man made manifest!
SOME IDEAS FROM THE MYSTERIES
By Elouise R. Harrison, LL.B.
Today on the one hand we find people intensely preoccupied with the enjoyment of material pleasures and material religions and on the other, those searching for a more spiritual satisfaction in life.
This is no new manifestation. The more philosophic of the Hellenic Greeks, disgusted at the materialism of the populace, the worship of the personal god Zeus, with his selfish man-like nature, also sought elsewhere for the spiritual teachings. To them, a vast pantheon of licentious gods supported by a corrupt priesthood exercising sway over others by means of superstition and meaningless ritual could not supply the answers provoked by the universe around them. They sought elsewhere.
Their diligence was rewarded by the establishment in Greece of the Mysteries which had come to Samothrace and Delos from Egypt and the Orient.
As could be expected, the Mysteries, such as those of Orpheus, Hermes, Demeter and Eleusis were essentially individualistic religions and religions of redemption rather than cults of propitiation which delighted the masses. In other words the candidate sought a direct individual relationship with the Anima Mundi, instead of employing state priests to make sacrifices and act as intermediary between the postulant and the earthy figment Zeus and the other gods so that the worshipper's way through life might be free from the malice of the gods. Such "vicarious atonement" satisfied only the superficial who refused to look beyond the arena of the senses. It would not suffice for the thinkers.
In the Mysteries, before the candidate could hope to achieve communion with spirit, he had to make himself receptive to higher influences by living the higher life. It was only when he had fully achieved this purification that the candidate received initiation into the Mysteries of the Supreme. But the followers of Zeus had no such troublesome or difficult requirements. A goodly sum handed to the priest was the most acceptable form of purification, they soon discovered.
Plato stated that to pass through the initiation of the Mysteries was to live with the gods, while to carry on the animal existence of ordinary life was akin to living in a slough. Apuleius likewise spoke of his initiation thus: -
"I approached the confines of death, I trod the thresholds of Proserpine; and after being carried through all the elements I returned to earth. At midnight I beheld the sun shining with its brightest splendour,
I penetrated into the very presence of the gods above, where I worshipped face to face."
In the Key to Theosophy, Madam Blavatsky says:
"Plato regarded the Mysteries as most sacred and Clement Alexandrinus, who had himself been initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries has declared `That the doctrines taught therein contained in them the end of all human knowledge.'"
Cumont relates that the Mysteries "refined and exalted the psychic life and gave to it that almost superhuman intensity such as the ancient world had never known before." Certainly no follower of the state religions could say as much for his dull rituals.
Iamblichus, the great neo-platonist wrote of such initiation one of the finest passages in literature on the joy brought to the soul by the Divine Presence. And Plotinus declared: "The great problem of idealism is symbolically solved in the Eleusiana."
Dr. Angus of Edinburgh University in his excellent work The Mystery Religions and Christianity adds a further note of commendation; he says: -
"Carved on the tomb in the cemetery of the Mystery brothers the passer-by would be arrested by such triumphant words as `reborn for eternity' or `be of good cheer'; while on those of the uninitiated, he might read such frivilous confessions as `I was not, I became. I am not and I care not' or `Hold all a mockery, reader, nothing is our own.' "
Dr. Angus continues with some very significant words, especially with us today with the fission threat: -
"In that troubled age of cosmological perils, it was no mean merit of the Mysteries that they made men comfortable in the universe. Discussing what were the new and worthy elements constituted by the oriental religions to the Hellenic age, Dibelius asserts that, in addition to claiming a close relation between the Mystes and his god, founded upon the personal choice and devotion of the Mystes, the Oriental religions, in a much more marked degree than those of the West, take into account cosmic interests . . . so that in these cults religious development keeps pace with the knowledge of the universe. In other words, their purpose was to make men at home in the universe."
It may perhaps be both instructive and interesting to observe more closely what took place in the Mysteries. Of course our knowledge is extremely limited due to the great secrecy maintained.
Broadly speaking, the candidate went through three stages before becoming a full-fledged member. These were first, preparation and probation; second, initiation and communion; and third, blessedness, salvation and the direct assurance of the immortality of the now-redeemed soul.
Preparation and probation consisted first, of the vows of secrecy. Dr. Angus declares: "It was a crime of the most heinous character to divulge the Mystery secrets." Madam Blavatsky states: "The words `mysteries' is derived from the Greek Muo, to `close the mouth', and every symbol connected with them had a hidden meaning." Revealing the Mysteries without authority, H.P.B. informs us, brought deliberate death as a punishment.
The next step was ascetic practices intended to purify the man of clay of earthly dross. "The preparatory purification was of a liberal character adapted to candidates of every level of spirituality." H.P.B. quotes Porphyry: "If we would be free from the assaults of evil spirits, we must keep ourselves clear of those things over which evil spirits have power, for they
attack not the pure soul which has no affinity with them."
Dr. Angus then continues: "After due probation the neophyte was solemnly received into membership within the Mystery cult and into fellowship with its members. Naturally we know less about the process of initiation proper than about any other part of the Mysteries. The rites could not be divulged. However the main object sought for was regeneration. The more spiritual and mature a mystery became, the more clamant the demand for regeneration."
" ' There can be no salvation without regeneration' was emphatically asserted in the Hermetic revelation. This regeneration was conceived in various ways as realistic, physical, hyper-physical, symbolic and spiritual . . . Initiation proper was considered as a death from which believers arose through rebirth . . . Apuleius underwent a `voluntary death' and apprehended death in order thereby to attain his spiritual birthday."
This regeneration led finally to the climax of the drama, communion and identification with the Supreme. "In the freeing of the soul from the hampering confinement of the body, in its communion with the Deity, powers arise within it of which it knows nothing in the daily life hampered by the body. It now becomes free as spirit to hold communion with Spirit; also released from transiency, it is endowed with capacities to behold what only the eyes of the spirit can behold, that which is removed beyond time and space." And finally Seneca exclaims: "God is nigh thee, is with thee, is within thee . . . a Holy Spirit dwells within us, a scrutinizer and guardian of our good and evil."
Of the third and final stage, blessedness and salvation, Dr. Angus has the following to say: "The salvation imparted in the Mysteries embraced deliverance from the physical ills of life, from bodily ailments, from the sense of alienation, from the galling powers of fate, and the reckless caprice of fortune, from ubiquitous terrors of the demons, from the fear of superstition and lastly, from the gloom of death." The blessedness was the doctrine of the immortality of the redeemed soul. Glaucus declares: - "Beautiful indeed is the Mystery given us by the blessed gods: death is for mortals no longer an evil but a blessing."
Concerning proof of the beneficial nature of the Mysteries, Dr. Angus concludes: "The glowing language of Pindar and Sophocles, the emphatic testimony of Cicero and Plutarch, the Mystic chorus of the `Cretans', the thanksgiving prayer of Apuleius, the hymn-book of the Orphic communities and the Hymn of Regeneration in Hermetic literature are only examples that might be multiplied from literature and corroborated from inscriptions."
Hence it was no wonder that those who had been through the Mysteries feared naught that god or devil might devise and went through life master of all, free from sickness and disease, and fit when their time came to receive death as a great and beneficent friend. For them immortality was a proven fact.
We followed the Greeks in their materialism. Can we now follow them in their spirituality?
"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." - The Voice of the Silence.
THE ORIGINAL PROGRAMME
- Collated by T.H. Redfern
In the minutes of the historic meeting on September 8th, 1875, it is recorded in the handwriting of Mr. W.Q. Judge that 16 persons present agreed "to found and belong to a society . . . for the study and elucidation of Occultism, the Cabala, etc." "I . . . am confident," announced Col. Olcott in his inaugural address to the members on November 17th, 1875, "that this Society will be the means of furnishing such unanswerable proofs of the immortality of the soul, that none but fools will doubt . . . From the days when the Neoplatonists and the last theurgists of Alexandria were scattered by the murderous hand of Christianity until now, the revival of a study of Theosophy has not been attempted . . . If I understand the spirit of this Society, it consecrates itself to the intrepid and conscientious study of truth, and binds itself, individually as collectively, to suffer nothing to stand in the way." The Society's 1878 announcement of "its origin, plan and aims" declares that "it influences its fellows to acquire an intimate knowledge of natural law, especially its occult manifestations. As the highest development, physically and spiritually, on earth, of the Creative Cause, man should aim to solve the mystery of his being . . . He should, therefore, study to develop his latent powers, and inform himself respecting the laws of magnetism, electricity and all other forms of force, whether of the seen or unseen universes". In her 1886 statement on the Original Programme, H.P. Blavatsky wrote: "Superstition had to be exposed and avoided; and occult forces, beneficent and maleficent - ever surrounding us and manifesting their presence in various ways - demonstrated to the best of our ability".
"The truths and mysteries of occultism constitute . . . a body of the highest spiritual importance, at once profound and practical for the world at large", for "everything in material life is most intimately associated with spiritual agencies". Occultism is science, but far more wide-embracing than physical science, as it includes "knowledge of the ultimate essence of things" which "has hitherto eluded the grasp" of physical scientists, and of forces not yet recognized by them though capable of use by the will in man. "Every exertion of will results in force". Extraordinary phenomena which occur by the use of occult powers, are "scientific `miracles' . . . in accordance with natural laws" outside the purview of present-day scientists.
"Occultism is the essence of Spiritualism"; it is "Ancient Spiritualism", "prehistoric and . . . coeval with intelligence". "From the beginning of time, there was but one positive science - Occultism". Magic is its other name, and modern Spiritualism of the popular kind is "adulterated unconscious magic". "When investigated on the plan of the modern scientific methods, occult phenomena will prove ten times more difficult to explain than those of the spiritualists pure and simple"; yet in occult science "will be found the explanation and the extinguisher of all superstitions". "The fundamental doctrines of Occultism . . . one and the same the world over", constitute "the universal WISDOM-RELIGION", being "the secret meaning under the outward shell of every old religion". These had systems of initiation in common, and "secret sacerdotal castes who had the guardianship of mystical words of power".
Mme. Blavatsky was careful to make a clear distinction between a Theosophist and an Occultist. "Men cannot all be Occultists, but they can all be Theosophists". "A man may be a very good Theosophist indeed, whether in or outside of the Society, without being in any way an Occultist". The Theosophists have no specific doctrines; they are "free and fearless investigators", without commitment. The Occultists have doctrines. So she corrects a French member for confusing "the Theosophy of our Society. . . with Occultism"; and when he wrote about "the doctrine of the "Theosophists", she inserted in brackets "Occultists, if you please".
"A true Theosophist must put into practice the loftiest moral ideal, must strive to realize his unity with the whole of humanity, and work ceaselessly for others". "The essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonizing of the divine in the human man, the adjustment of his god-like qualities and aspirations, and their sway over the terrestrial or animal passions in him. Kindness, absence of every ill-feeling or selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings, and perfect justice to others as to one's self, are its chief features. He who teaches Theosophy teaches the gospel of goodwill; and.. . he who preaches the gospel of goodwill, teaches Theosophy." "It is easy to become a Theosophist. Any person of average intellectual capacities, and a leaning toward the metaphysical; of pure, unselfish life, who fnds more joy in helping his neighbor than in receiving help himself; one who is ever ready to sacrifice his own pleasures for the sake of other people; and who loves Truth, Goodness and Wisdom for their own sake, not for the benefit they may confer - is a Theosophist." An ordinary man "works along with Nature during the course of cosmic evolution", but "an occultist . . . by his superior knowledge, adopts such methods of training and discipline as will hurry on that process of evolution, and . . . in a few thousand years . . . reaches that apex to ascend to which the ordinary individual may perhaps take billions of years".
Not many members of the Society are trainees in occult sciences. Studying freely and practising assiduously a Theosophist may or may not come to accept occult doctrines and start preparing to be a practical occultist, in future lives if not in this; but "no one can be a true Occultist without being a real Theosophist", for if he is not, he will act selfishly for his own personal benefit, and gaining "more practical power than other ordinary men, he becomes forthwith a far more dangerous enemy to the world and those around him than the average mortal". Occultism has "a good and evil side", and it is "a dangerous and fearful thing for the inexperienced to meddle" with the dark side - "dangerous to our moral as to our physical nature".
"The aspirant has to choose absolutely between the life of the world and the life of Occultism. It is useless and vain to endeavor to unite the two . . . It would be a ceaseless, a maddening struggle for almost any married man, who would pursue true practical Occultism". "Occultism is a dangerous, double-edged weapon for one to handle who is unprepared to devote his whole life to it", for whilst it "saves", it "also kills". "Siddhis (or the Arhat powers) are only for those who are able to lead the life, to comply with the terrible sacrifices required for such a training, and to comply with them to the very letter . . . True Occultism . . . is the `Great Renunciation of SELF', unconditionally and absolutely, in thought as in action. It is ALTRUISM, and it throws him who practises it out of calculation of the ranks of the livng altogether . . . His personality must (Continued on page 117.)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
Quite a number of our members paid their dues for 1960 in advance which is both thoughtful and commendable; however I would like to remind them that in the meantime a Referendum Ballot was held and as the voting proved was almost unanimous in its decision to increase the dues by one dollar per annum. There is thus a difference which we would like to have adjusted by the above mentioned members if they would be good enough to send the balance in order that the records be kept straight. This intimation is the only one that will be made and the matter is left to the discretion of those affected. Thank you.
The Convention held in July proved such a success that we are emboldened to carry the impetus given by formulating what we term a Theosophical Festival to be held sometime in the New Year. Tentative arrangements are already in hand and when they assume a more tangible form will be announced in due course.
I have just read one of the most comprehensive and informative books of its kind that I have perused for many a long day. It is written by Dr. Hugh Shearman, of the T.S. in Northern Ireland. Within its covers is an illuminating and instructive compendium of information on the set-up of The Society, its outlook, policy, interior and exterior economics plus concise details of the why and wherefore of every activity in an up and coming lodge. The comprehensive understanding of action even to behavior and ethics is to my mind something that every member should read and remember. If the precepts and suggestions here detailed with such clarity were carried out, what a wonderful organization we would have and what delightful places our lodges would be! So impressed am I with the book that my Executive agreed with me that a sufficient number be purchased in order that a complimentary copy be given to each of our lodges. I trust that those in a position to do so will see that the book is read and studied, for I feel sure that by doing so an added impulse for our work will be incurred by all concerned. For those who would like to purchase a copy for themselves here is the necessary information: To Form a Nucleus: A guide to work in the Theosophical Society, by Dr. Hugh Shearman, Ph.D., obtainable from The Theosophical Society, P.O. Box 270, Wheaton, Ill. Post Free $1.
I regret the decease of Mr. Graham L. Garratt, a member of the Toronto Lodge, who passed away on August 14. He was a member of long standing, having joined the Society in 1921. We express our deepest sympathy to his family, and to his twin-brother Ronald also a member in long-standing.
I welcome the following new members into the Society: Miss Elouise R. Harrison of Nanaimo, B.C., a Member at Large; Mrs. Virginia M. Mepham, of the Hamilton Lodge; Mr. Lester Allen and Miss Elizabeth Siegel both of the Toronto Lodge. Mr. T.G. Davy, Toronto Lodge, has been demitted as a Member at Large. Mrs. E. Gillespie, long a member of the Toronto Lodge, for some time domiciled in India but now in Australia, has been demitted to that Section.
As the next issue of the magazine will not appear until toward the end of January, I take this opportunity of wishing you all the Compliments of the Season as well as my best wishes for the New Year.
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.
Miss Jean Low, 1210 Seymour Ave., Apt. 12, Montreal, 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 Quarterly Meeting of the General Executive was held at 52 Isabella St., Toronto, on Sunday, Oct. 4. Members present, Miss M. Hindsley, Messrs. C.E. Bunting, C.M. Hale and the General Secretary; Mr. D.W. Barr attended ex officio. The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved, also the financial statement. Mr. Barr reported for the magazine. The General Secretary outlined the arrangements which had been made for balloting in the forthcoming Presidential Election and these were approved. The meeting authorized the General Secretary to vote for the election of the two additional members to the Council as proposed by the President. Probate of the Dewey Estate was expected to be completed this month and the amount of the bequest to the Theosophical Society in Canada could be expected shortly afterwards. The General Secretary asked that suggestions respecting the use of the funds be considered and be given at the next meeting. A visit to Montreal Lodge by the General Secretary at the expense of the Section was authorized. Mr. Oberlerchener, President of Kitchener Lodge, had requested that a list of the books in the Kitchener Lodge Library be printed for use in publicity purposes. The General Secretary will endeavor to arrange for the mimeographing of the list by Toronto Lodge members. The General Secretary then spoke of a new book by Dr. Hugh Shearman, To Form a Nucleus, and recommended that a sufficient number of copies be purchased to send one copy to each of the Canadian Lodges. This was approved. Other matters of routine nature were then dealt with; under `New Business' the General Secretary suggested that, in view of the success of the Convention last July, a Theosophical Festival be held in the near future. This was approved. The next meeting was arranged for Jan. 10, 1960.
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist.
Dear Sir: -
After reading C.M.H.'s review in the Sept.-Oct. Canadian Theosophist, of the book In Search o f the Miraculous by P.D. Ouspensky, I feel impelled to suggest a different estimation of this work and of Gurdieff's teaching. The reviewer has nothing but condemnation to offer on various grounds, but chiefly I think because "the principal fascination of the book lies in the consistency with which, Gurdieff'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".
Many years ago when I read this book and some others dealing with Gurdieff's teaching, I was deeply interested to discover an Occult School which differed markedly from Theosophy in that it possessed no metaphysical basis at all, said nothing of Brotherhood, and whose teaching and philosophy was entirely practical and extremely drastic and yet its main aim was the same as that of the student of Theosophy, viz., to help the student to become self-conscious, or if you prefer, more self-conscious.
Theosophy teaches, does it not, that the immortal timeless centre of Spiritual Intelligence, which if not Divine, is closely linked with the divine eternal Monad, is the real man; and that this centre which has been built to its present status by passing through every form which life takes on this planet, together with the help of other more advanced Spiritual hierarchies, is now engaged in becoming a self-conscious spiritual individual. Again and again it projects a reflection or ray of itself to form a personality in the dense matter of this physical plane whose energies are slowed down to such a degree that self-consciousness is possible. The whole aim of human life is to incarnate more and more the powers of man's Higher Self in self-conscious expression here, and one of the chief and essential ways is to become more Self-possessed.
Self-consciousness by itself, the power to be awake and alert, viz., fully conscious of what you are doing and that you are doing it, and of what is going on around one, aware of what is happening within and without is a power, the power of incarnate Manas. There is nothing spiritual about it of necessity; it is just as necessary to the Black Adept as to the White, but no one can get anywhere without it. The reason Gurdieff gave, when asked why he did not teach Brotherhood, Reincarnation, etc., was that until an individual wakes up he cannot do anything, he is the sport of the forces of his own past and his present environment and it is useless to give this knowledge to people who are still sleep walkers. Not many theosophists would go with him so far as that, but self-examination will confirm that there is an amazing amount of truth in it. Truly, it is only when by a great effort of will that we strive in fullest awareness to examine in complete disinterestedness some concern of ours that we can say we are really self-conscious, and from this there are all grades of awareness down to the instinctive living which takes care of the routine of our lives, eating, talking, etc., down to the purely bodily instincts.
Twice before we have had this experience of meeting with a philosophy or teaching which seemed different, or the complete antithesis of Theosophy, which yet turned out to lead to the same goal. The first was Hinyana Buddhism. Where Theosophy declared man's essential divinity and showed the way to incarnate his dormant powers, Buddhism took the opposite view - Annatta, - discover and prove for yourself that everything is Not-Self and by `letting go' free oneself, - the positive and the negative paths to the same great goal. The other occasion was P.G. Bowen and his teachings.
There is yet another book of Ouspensky's to be had consisting of questions by his students and answers by himself concerning Gurdieff's teaching. It is called The Fourth Way, but a small book by a London Surgeon, a student of Ouspensky, and when he died, of Gur-
dieff, called Venture with Ideas by Kenneth Walker (Bain & Co., London) gives a short, clear, succinct account of these teachings and their impact upon himself. Gurdieff's own book, All and Everything we have been unable to procure, whilst his Remarkable Men I Have Met appears not to have been published.
W. E. Wilks.
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist.
Dear Sir: -
The July-August issue of The Canadian Theosophist contained an article entitled "Notes on Reunification" by D.W.B I consider the tone of the article to be contrary to the spirit of brotherhood, which is the basis for Theosophical organizations.
D.W.B. mentions possible objections to the realization of brotherhood but neglects to mention that nothing would be accomplished in any field of human endeavor if all possible objections had to be overcome first. It is possible to be entranced by "the holes in the road" to such an extent that all forward movement ceases.
Has D.W.B. forgotten that H.P.B. welcomed new members who disagreed with her entirely. The clarion call then was to brotherhood. The call is still to brotherhood. Mr. Pierce Spinks' book Theosophists Reunite may well be the last call for many of us. If we ignore it - if we raise all possible objections to brotherhood - we must remain broken links in the chain.
However the objections mentioned to the realization of brotherhood are weak - very weak. Actually they are not even objections - merely assumptions. Many Theosophists, as the enclosed leaflet will indicate, view Mr. Spinks' effort with enthusiasm.
Must the next messenger erect a new foundation - begin all over again? Or are we prepared to repair the foundation built so painstakingly by H.P.B. - in time?
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist.
Dear Sir :-
Your May-June number was one of the best on record and intensely interesting.
I find most interesting Mr. Tyler's citation of the Winchester Cathedral "spirits" as evidence of the accuracy of Mr. Leadbeater's teachings, and of the actual existence of the "seven spirits before the throne" believed in by millions of Christians.
A little more knowledge of the teachings of H.P. Blavatsky would have shown exactly what these "angels" were.
In literature and tradition, as in religious faith, they are anthropomorphization of the seven primeval powers or "rays" that gave rise to the seven types of humanity. In the forms seen by Leadbeater they are something else. To begin with, the most elementary knowledge of the nature of the various planes shows that nothing spiritual could possibly be photographed. The annals of psychic research as well as the real teachings of Theosophy show that the highest manifestation that can be photographed - or for that matter, seen physically - is of the lower astral plane; in seances it consists of "ectoplasm," which is the astral fluid of a medium mixed with physical cells drawn from the body of the medium and from sitters present. The lower astral in general is that same dangerous "lower Iddhi" against which H.P.B. warned, from which, she said, no flower had ever been plucked and brought down without its serpent coiled around the stem.
But let us examine the contours of this particular serpent. That Mr. Leadbeater saw something in churches is indubitably true. But what did he see? Certainly not the primal Dhyani of the seven rays. These are not only arupa, without form, but their essence is spread throughout space and includes incorporation in the human constitution. That is hardly the "church angels" as conceived of in Christian anthropomorphization! But we do not have to go far to learn what they really are. It is well known that around any locality which has seen powerful, or long prolonged human emotions, an aura is created in which forms develop as governed by that thought, as well as enduring vibrations which set up strong effects - terror and horror in a haunted house, reverence and devotion in a church. One of the Roman philosophers quoted by H.P.B. saw clairvoyantly, in the declining days of Rome, the Gods of the Roman pantheon withering and drooping, because their followers were ceasing to believe. Conversely, such forms flourish and grow on a strong tide of faith.
One of the best accounts of the relationship between the elemental forms and church religion of the anthropomorphic type is in the Prayag Message delivered by the Mahatma via H.P.B. (See Mahatma Letters, p. 462.)
". . . all this is physical and material impediments which with a little effort we could counteract and even clear away without much detriment to ourselves. Not so with the magnetism proceeding from erroneous and sincere beliefs. Faith in the gods and God, and other superstitions attracts millions of foreign influences, living entities and powerful agents around them, with which we would have to use more than ordinary exercise of power to drive them away. We do not choose to do so. We do not find it necessary or profitable to lose our time waging war to the unprogressed Planetaries who delight in personating gods and sometimes well known characters who have lived on earth. There are Dhyan-Chohans and "Chohans of Darkness," not what they term devils but imperfect "Intelligences" who have never been born on this or any other earth or sphere no more than the "Dhyan Chohans" have and who will never belong to the "builders of the Universe," the pure Planetary Intelligences, who preside at every Manvantara while the Dark Chohans preside at the Pralayas."
These "unprogressed Planetaries" can be still further identified; they are the "Star Rishis" against whom H.P.B. warned: "Those who fall off from our living human Mahatmas to fall into the path of the Star Rishis are NO THEOSOPHISTS."
They seem also to belong to what she describes as the dark, or earthborn spirits with whom she classes the one known as Jehovah. They have still another name - the "mirror devas" because of their quality of mirroring the thoughts in the minds of men. Also, they have a strong sex correlation, which explains a lot in the history of religion, including its phallic element.
The influence of these star rishis is to gradually lead the worshippers away from the true human type and the human line of evolution altogether, into what weird cosmic bypaths perhaps we may find out after 1975.
Naturally, among the "millions of living entities and powerful agents" are the black adepts whose consistent policy is to pull down the pure spiritual knowledge into anthropomorphic and ecclesiastic forms in order to hamper the progress of evolution and maintain domination over human affairs. Hence the element of intolerance, terrorism, hell-
fire and damnation, and inquisitionism, along with the extreme political cunning in some quarters.
Dr. Kuhn's article in the same number throws a great deal of light on the same subject; so does Mr. Redfern's, though on the basis of the above I can hardly agree with his proposition that the Liberal Catholic Church is a beneficent force. Its purport is also to anthropomorphize the truth and lead people off into the "Path of the Star Rishis." Anyone who carefully studies the manner in which H.P.B.'s teachings, especially on this subject, were back-shelved by the Leadbeater clique, and his followers debarred from any serious study by an unceasing flood of "new revelations" superseding "poor old H.P.B.," should be able to catch the point. Also from the clever casuistry with which every basic fallacy of the Catholic Church was "justified" by "clairvoyance." The "Solar Logos" and the rest of the Leadbeater pantheon was the new version of the old astral visions of the Star Rishis.
THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE IN DANTE'S DIVINE COMEDY
By Rev. R.G. Katsunoff, B.A., D.D.
THE WORLD - INFERNO
"O man, who can'st not understand the sense of this Canto, do not reject it! But rather look at its beauty, so great; be it on account of its construction, which concerns the 'Grammarian'; be it on account of its order of discourses - which concerns the 'Rhetorician'; be it on account of the numbers of its parts, which concerns the `Musician'." - Dante.
There is no doubt that the evil deeds of man - a result of ignorance, folly or meanness - deserve Hell. But before we deal with it, before we look at its nature and its duration - let us see what was the purpose for which Dante was prompted to write his immortal poem. Dante did not intend to write the story of his own special pilgrimage - he does that as it were "in passing" - but he wanted to leave to men a map, which if they follow, will lead them, as he puts it, "out of this state of darkness into the light of eternal noon". The passage of the blessed souls from the slavery of the present state of corruption (Reincarnation) to the liberty of Eternal Glory - this is the theme of the Divina Comedia according to Dante. He reveals to us the secrets of true initiation; he tells us how as Prodigal Sons - in that far off land of matter - we may turn our steps homeward.
In the philosophy of Dante there is no room for dualism. He describes one universe, created, sustained and redeemed by the power of love. It is this divine impulse that is operative on all planes of existence. The holy agent which God uses in leading us to the supreme goal before us, is that Divine Wisdom or "Beatrice" - the most beautiful daughter of God. Dante says "The Glorious Lady of my mind, who was called Beatrice by many, who hardly knew how much she deserves that name, first appeared to my eyes, when I was nine years old". No wonder commentators on Dante's Comedia are perplexed by the extravagant language he uses when addressing Beatrice. It is she, the love of that ageless wisdom, which "makes evil thoughts to perish in the hearts of men, while those, who can endure to gaze on her must either be ennobled, or else die". And he continues: "Also this virtue owns she, by
God's will: Who speaks with her - can never come to ill".
The Templars, the Troubadours, the Trouveres and the Minnesingers of the middle ages, "the seekers of something hidden" (as the Meistersingers of Wagner) sang in praise of that mysterious lady of their love - the veiled lady of the sonnets of Shakespeare - who represents the inner wisdom of all ages, the secret Mother of the Mysteries. These "ladies of love" - veiled, and the Secret Mother of the Mysteries, stand for that "Rose Eternal" which spreads and multiplies in the seventh heaven in the Divina Comedia, where the blessed Beatrice is enthroned. Whether you call her "Isis of Sais", "Sophia of the Gnosis", or "Helena of Faust", it is the same Divine Love-Wisdom, the ever-womanly of Goethe, that is meant. Says Giordano Bruno: "I am displeased with the bulk of mankind, and I am enamoured with one particular lady. 'Tis for her that I am free in servitude, content in pain, rich in necessity and alive in death. 'Tis for the love of true wisdom and by the studious admiration of this mistress that I fatigue, that I disquiet, that I torment myself." - How like Apostle Paul, who was ready to suffer all things, if he were only to attain to the full stature of Christ.
In the XI Canto (in Paradise), Dante describes the world he had left behind, in these words: "How senseless, Oh man, your choice of things on which you have set your heart! How weak the reasons, which lead you to pursue your aims! One was following the law and one medicine, and one the church, and one was seeking to rule by might or sophism, and one to rob, and one to have a hand in public affairs; one was immersed in pleasures of the flesh, and one was devoting himself to idleness, when I quit all these things". Dante might have "quit" the world but yesterday!
In Vita Nouva Dante, recollecting his first vision of Beatrice, the first call of that Divine Wisdom - writes, "At that moment, I say most truly, that the Spirit of Life, which hath its dwelling in the secret chamber of the heart, began to tremble so violently, that the least pulses of my body shook therewith; and in trembling it said these words: `Behold a god stronger than I, who coming shall rule over me"' - (the lower mind speaking of the higher).
Nine years later Dante met Beatrice in the street and for the first time received her "salutation", which threw him into "a dream" of terror and of joy.
Later, when material life gets firmer hold upon him, and no time seems left for study or meditation, Dante dreams that Beatrice has left him: she is to die. "Then my heart that was so full of love, said unto me: `It is true, that our lady lieth dead'." He went to look at the body, "for my imagining was so strong, that it made me to behold my lady in death" and he hears her say to him: "I have attained to look on the beginning of peace". Soon he claims that dream came true. He wrote a new Canzone beginning: "How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! The Lord God of Justice called my most gracious lady unto Himself". Dante's great fear that he may lose touch altogether with that Divine Light caused him to see a vision. "After writing this sonnet, it was given unto me to behold a very wonderful vision wherein I saw things which determined me that I would say nothing further of this most blessed one (Divine Wisdom), until such time as I could discourse concerning her more worthily with the knowledge of experience. And to this end I labor all I can, as she well knoweth, (studied hard). Wherefore, if it be His pleasure through whom is the life of all things, that my life continue
with me a few years, it is my hope that I shall yet write concerning her what hath not before been written of any woman". It was his love for her that brought him "out of the world of darkness to ever increasing light". This is Beatrice, not a veritable woman of flesh and bones as most writers claim. Dante says to her: "Tu m'hai di servo tratto a libertate" - "You led me from bondage to liberty" - (Par. 33:36), (from the status of spiritual death to conscious immortality). It is to that Divine Light that Dante's soul "was wedded so early in life". (St. Catherine of Siena is said to have had the same experience when she was six years of age).
Dante realized that, to attain to that blessed state, he had to do a lot of study and go through heavy trials . . . In his poem he refers to that time of active life and learning as having been unfaithful to Beatrice. Some commentators suggest that he may have joined a Mystery School of doubtful value others, that for a time he led rather a loose life. To my mind neither of these explanations is satisfactory. Life provided for Dante all the trials a soul needs to prepare him for true initiation. He certainly acquired the four cardinal virtues, (Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude) needed for his admission into the "Courts of Love" for Initiation. The mind has to be made keen before one can rise to intuitional knowledge. In Convito Dante writes: "All men desire to know, for reason is man's specific faculty and he is naturally drawn to it. But defects of the senses - which are the gates of knowledge, poisoned appetites, which make the soul sicken at its own proper food, pressure of civic and family affairs, sloth - all combine to exclude the great herd of mankind from true humanity and to keep them with the swine, pasturing upon acorns, instead of sitting at the table where the Bread of Angels is ministered to few, "I pick up a few crumbs that fall from the table," says Dante. These few crumbs were the beginning of the Divina Comedia. Dante studied hard all the ancient philosophers and the mystics of his time, and like all true geniuses dwelt and wrote upon the greatest of themes: God, man and the universe.
Now, who is Virgil? Why did Dante choose him for his guide through the Inferno and Purgatory.
Virgil was not only one of the greatest poets of antiquity; he was an initiate. The great secret knowledge was passed on from Hesiod to Homer - Virgil and now Dante as a chain of tradition. "You lead on through the secret way, and I will follow" says Dante to Virgil. Virgil here then stands for a reborn or "sane" intellect. According to Dante, man and society can achieve earthly happiness, or earthly Paradise, if they listen and obey the dictates of true reason. If Dante was to achieve freedom and eternal bliss, he had to acquire first the ability to look upon the world and the universe with a clear and purified mind. As symbol for such a mind we have here Virgil.
Inferno is not a place - it is a state of consciousness. The sufferings which man undergoes on earth and beyond are only the necessary stages which lead the soul to a higher grade of existence. Many people repeat the last line of the inscription over the region of darkness and doom - which "appear in obscure color" - "Leave all hope, ye that enter", but the "Doleful City" - our earth - is still a part of the Dominion of Love. As Dante observes very emphatically: "their sense is hard to see". Dante explains in his Paradise: "God governs the whole universe, but reigns in His City". Justice and Divine Wisdom and Primal Love are the creators of the Inferno, according to the above
inscription, and we know "the gates of hell shall not prevail". "It is of love by which some think, the world is oft-times converted into chaos" - says an Ancient Sage. Love producing harmony through chaos.
Sorrow and pain awaken in man a longing for true existence. The primitive soul may be rebellious, it may identify itself with the fleeting forms of matter, but the day of awakening comes at long last. When Christ died on Golgotha, Dante says the foundations of hell shook as if Love brought chaos there. If Christ went to hell to preach to its inhabitants and took away with Him the shades of many others besides Adam, Moses, Noah, Abraham, David and Rachel, then the idea of eternal torture must be excluded (Inf. 4 : 55).
Through an endless process of appropriation and identification of the ignorant soul with what it is not, and then by repudiation and negation of the same, the real "I" of man comes to himself. According to Buddha the soul of man can take five ways: 1. it can strike the side road and land in Avitchi; 2. it can join the animal bosom; 3. it can go into the Kingdom of the Shadows; 4. it can enter the Human World; or 5. it can ascend to the Divine World. Regarding the first group Buddha says: "I can see him who chose the side road, taking such a path in life, that will surely lead him after death to an unhappy destination; lo, looking at him with my inner vision, I see him again after death with pain and fiery piercings, as though he hurried and fell into a vale of fire without flames or smoke, buried, exhausted, trembling and dying for thirst."
Regarding the second group Buddha observes: "This one, who hurried into the Animal Bosom, I see him fall into a grave full of decomposed matter."
Regarding the third group, he continues: "This third one, who went into the kingdom of shadows, is like, he, who tries in vain to find shade under a withering tree, whose foliage is void of green."
Regarding the fourth group Buddha says: "This one who entering the Human World, I see him come back, and being reborn as a human being."
Regarding the fifth group Buddha says: "The fifth one who ascended to the Divine World, I see him enter the kingdom of perfect bliss."
Dante's treatment in the Divina Comedia is not very much unlike the description above.
Sin, according to Dante, is spiritual ignorance. Men "lose the right way - not knowing how" - they walk as in a sleep, until their "Star" arises and a divine ray sets them on the right path. The suffering in Inferno is chiefly due to the fact that men have lost the use of their intellect. Thoughtlessness, even today is the greatest sin in the world. Social injustices would cease, if men knew the value of righteousness and lived "righteously". Political disturbances and wars would stop if men achieved reborn minds - became "Sani intellecti".
We must realize that the lower, selfish and blind mind of man must be reborn. Nicodemus was a learned theologian in his day, yet Jesus said to him, "you must be born from above." Our lower mind must attach itself to the higher mind (Buddhi-manas), if we are to see clearly. Then only shall we be able to agree with Dante, that eternal justice and love prevail in the whole universe. If man suffers and there is injustice and cruelty in the world, it is all due to the actions of man and the iron Law of Necessity. This latter law (Karma) is not arbitrary or revengeful, but one that leads the willing sufferer to freedom.
We all carry our own Hell within us.
The burning fire is the Epithumia - our insatiable desires and cravings for material pleasures. The Satan (Devil) that tortures us is our lower self, unconscious to the higher power in us. There is nothing as alive as bad conscience awake. The man without God's light in him active is only a shadow; he is asleep, whether in a body or out of a body. And how full of such walking somnambulists our world is! When Charon receives such shadows of beings into his domain, he yells at them: "You will never enter Heaven". I wonder if that kind of vociferous greeting is not intended to waken the sleeping shadows and finally cause them to "enter Heaven". Should this call not remind us of the Apostle's words of command "Awake thou that sleepest".
Boccacio tells us that one day as Dante was passing a group of women at Verona, one remarked to her companions: "Do you see the man, who goes to Hell and comes back when he likes." - "Yes", said another woman, but "see his frizzled beard and his dark face from the smoke and heat".
The symbolic language of the Divina Comedia is quite apparent from the beginning of the book. Dante speaks of three animals: Leopard or spotted panther - indicating passion; Lion - denoting pride; and she-wolf - meaning selfishness. He expects the world to achieve its right status, according to God's plan, when the Veltro, (Christ) comes.
In the Vestibule of Hell, Dante places those souls, who may be otherwise advanced, but in whom Love had been absent. Love is action and those who have not demonstrated that quality in life are not ready for Heaven. They are the "Neutral Souls", the "Tomlinsons" of Kipling, indifferent, the soulless souls.
Hell is composed of nine circles - a reflection of the divisions of Heaven, each circle narrower than the one previous.
Dante has placed four rivers in Hell.
Acheron - with Charon - the boat-man Death - in charge.
Styx - meaning the hateful place.
Phlegeton - with flaming blood.
Cocytus - the place of wailing.
In the section of the Limbo - the first circle of Hell, Dante places virtuous heathen and unbaptized children, (those souls, ready for reincarnation). There we find Socrates, Homer, Moses, Plato, Aristotle.
In the Circles 2-4, Dante places those guilty of incontinence. Here Aeolus controls the winds. The best picture of the whole Divina Comedia is found in the love story of Francesca and Paulo. They, too, are guilty of that sin, yet human love gives them a little light, so they are together; the rest of sinners in that section drift along singly. The doleful chant of lines of cranes adds tremendously to the gloominess of the region. Here you will find the sensuals, the gluttons, the avaricious and spendthrifts.
In Circles 4-6 are those committing sins of impulse. There is fog, rain and hail. Here in the Stygian Lake are the wrathful, the sullen, the discontented ones and heretics (the materialists).
In Circle 7 are those who have committed sins of violence against others, against themselves or God. Here you see serpents, demons with reversed heads on and a rain of fire.
In Circle 8 are the fraudulent, betrayers of women, flatterers, Cimoniacs, Diviners (cup readers) and hypocrites; also the thieves, evil councillors and falsifiers.
In the ninth circle, where cold reigns, are the traitors: traitors of friends, of country. Here is eternal cold.
Lucifer - the governor of all the regions of Hell - is depicted as a huge motionless figure of ice, with wings
laden with ice: "doomed" in the City of Doom.
Dante stood for the eternal and absolute order of the universe. His description of Hell is awful, but still Love had a hand in it, he claims. Ordered Love is the salvation of the world. Wrong, perverted Love, is hell, from which true Love is absent. Hell is the reverse of Heaven.
In Hell there is no life, no motion, only eternal cold; while in Heaven there is eternal life, there is ceaseless motion, motion at an unimaginable rate.
There is peril if one looks upon Hell - life on earth - without clear vision. One is not only subject to ordinary temptation, but to temptation leading to disbelief in God. The Psalmist practically says the same thing: "When I saw the ungodly prosper and the just man suffer, I almost lost my faith in God, until I went into the Temple" - and allowed my higher intuition to speak to me. "Deliver us from the temptation of evil" - from the Maya of duality. In the poem the Furies exclaim: "Medusa, come, so we to stone will turn him" (Dante), while Virgil bade him close his eyes, not to see the Medusa, for then a return from Hell would be impossible. Playing with evil can blind us! But Love will triumph finally. The "Dross" of Life will disappear. Suffering purges the soul. "There is a Hell and Heaven" says Dekker. "If we look not into the first, we shall never live in the latter". Beatrice felt that Dante would not be able to see the light and turn to the right path before he saw the condition of those in Hell - so she sent Virgil to lead him through the Inferno. Mephistopheles could not satisfy the seeking soul of Faust, but Faust had evidently to experience first the emptiness of the Temporal before he could attain salvation.
Our world - upside down as it is - is real Hell. The force of Maya - the Great Illusion, is to be overcome. The false "I" is to be saved by being transmuted (not destroyed) by the Christ light in us into "pure gold" (Masefield). The Herod in us - the enemy of the Prince of Peace - must surrender to His Light - who is the Way, the Truth and Eternal Life.
Hell and Evil are real - destructive, but impermanent.
Heaven and Good are real - constructive and eternal.
Love reigns - let the earth rejoice!
THE ORIGINAL PROGRAMME (Continued from page 106) disappear, and he has to become a mere beneficent force in Nature . . . There are two poles for him after that, two paths, and no midward place of rest. He has either to ascend laboriously, step by step, often through numerous incarnations and no Devachanic break, the golden ladder leadng to Mahatmaship (the Arhat or Bodhisattva condition), or - he will let himself slide down the ladder at the first false step, and roll down into Dugpaship", wrote H.P. Blavatsky.
". . . The path to Occult Sciences has to be trodden laboriously and crossed at the danger of life; . . . every new step in it leading to the final goal is surrounded by pitfalls and cruel thorns; . . . the pilgrim who ventures upon it is made first to confront and conquer the thousand and one furies who keep watch over its adamantine gates and entrances - furies called Doubt, Skepticism, Scorn, Ridicule, Envy and finally Temptation - especially the latter; . . . he must be possessed of a heart and soul clad in steel, and of an iron, never-failing determination and yet be meek and gentle, humble, and have shut out from his heart every human passion that
leads to evil. Are you all this? Have you ever begun a course of training which would lead to it?" asked an Eastern Adept of Mr. A.P. Sinnett, who had offered to give up meat and drink. "Since you cannot become a regular chela, why should you?" replied the Adept in refusing to accept the proposed sacrifice.
Only those who "are passion-proof . . . `natural-born' magicians, Mystics and Occultists by birth, and by right of direct inheritance from a series of incarnations and aeons of suffering and failures . . . may be certain of success". What then of those of us who, trying to be Theosophists and having seen and accepted the occult goal, "have to carry yet for several incarnations the burden of sins committed in previous lives" and even in our present existence, who neither realize the true nature of what we aspire towards, nor have we become "passion-proof, far less, truly unselfish"? ". . . When once the desire for Occultism has really awakened in a man's heart, there remains for him no hope of peace, no place of rest and comfort in all the world. He is driven out into the wild and desolate spaces of life by an ever-gnawing unrest he cannot quell. His heart is too full of passion and selfish desire to permit him to pass the Golden Gate; he cannot find rest or peace in ordinary life. Must he then inevitably fall into sorcery and black magic, and through many incarnations heap up for himself a terrible Karma? Is there no other road for him? Indeed there is, we answer. Let him not take a burden upon himself too heavy for him to carry. Without ever becoming a `Mahatma', a Buddha or a Great Saint, let him study the philosophy and the `Science of Soul', and he can become one of the modest benefactors of humanity, without any `superhuman' powers."
Why should anyone attempt the terrific task of treading the occult path? Unless he must, he has no chance of succeeding. He must be prepared "to devote his whole life to it", to "the science of life, the art of living" at a new and spiritual level of mastery. ". . . The real aim of Occult Science" consists in learning "the means of shifting gradually his sense of individuality from his corruptible material body to the incorruptible and eternal Non-Being represented by his seventh principle", wrote T. Subba Rao to A.P. Sinnett. And the culmination? "The Occultist . . . stands a Free Man, omnipotent through his own Divine Spirit as much as man can be on earth. He has rid himself of all human considerations and religious side-issues . . . He has collected into one bundle all the separate fractions of Truth widely scattered over the nations, and holds in his hand the One Truth, a torch of light which no adverse wind can bend, blow out or even cause to waver . . . He has secured God within himself and depends no more on the whim and caprice of either good or evil deities."
John J. O'Connell,
My attention has just been called to the May, 1959, issue of Cosmopolitan, in which there appears an article by Eugene D. Fleming under the title California Cults and Crackpots. Therein is a paragraph about Katherine Tingley that is a tissue of falsehoods and misrepresentations. The most outrageously malicious misrepresentation is the writer's reference to General Harrison Gray Otis's charge in his Los Angeles Times that the institution founded by Katherine Tingley at Point Loma was guilty of "gross immoralities." The fact is that on October 28,
1901, The Los Angeles Daily Times printed and published an article about Katherine Tingley and Point Loma, for which publication Katherine Tingley instituted a libel suit in the Superior Court of San Diego County, Calif. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury awarded Katherine Tingley compensatory and exemplary damages in the amount of $7,500.00. On appeal by Gen. Otis to the Supreme Court of California, a unanimous decision was handed down upholding the lower court's judgment. The high court's decision is printed in full in "Reports of Cases Determined in the Supreme Court of the State of California," Volume 151, Pages 1 to 28. To link a publication made in 1901, for which heavy damages for libel were awarded Katherine Tingley, with another case tried and determined more than twenty years later, in which no allegations of meretricious relationship were involved, and to publish in May, 1959, that this proved that the Community at Point Loma was guilty of carrying on "gross immoralities", is inexcusable in a reputable publication.
How much does Mr. Fleming really know about Katherine Tingley and Point Loma? For my part I do know as much about her as any living person. During my boyhood I attended the school at Point Loma which she founded and directed; as a youth I served her as amanuensis; and for twenty years I accompanied her as her travelling secretary on numerous tours in this country and abroad. I raise my voice in outraged protest against this libel upon the memory of a great lady of Katherine Tingley's stature.
Not a few well-known journalists here and abroad appreciated the work of the distinguished Theosophical leader and wrote with enthusiasm about her:
"The brilliant and remarkable achievements of one of the most gifted and distinguished daughters of New England" was Lilian Whiting's description of Katherine Tingley's career.
Writing in The Boston Herald, Gertrude Stevenson said that she was above all things sincere.
Ray Stannard Baker contributed to The American Magazine a lengthy and appreciative illustrated article about Katherine Tingley and her work, as did Karl Heinrich von Wiegand to Sunset.
John Hubert Greusel in The Detroit Free Press spoke of "her sovereign ease in large affairs," and said that she seemed to combine in herself "the constructive imagination of Catherine of Russia" with "the idealism of a modernized Joan of Arc."
Katherine Tingley's name will, of course, be associated for all time with what "Yorick" (E.H. Clough), the brilliant editorial writer for The San Diego Union and The Evening Tribune, called: "that wonderful institution over there on Point Loma, compact of art, beauty, erudition, and the humanity that classifies mankind not in the categories of the merely material, but upon the broad basis of a spiritual force and law, of which the material is only one incomplete manifestation."
Besides the damages paid to Katherine Tingley by The Los Angeles Times for its libelous publication, The New York World issued a full-page retraction of its false statements about her and The Oakland Tribune paid her substantial damages besides printing a complete retraction.
Having passed on in 1929, Katherine Tingley is no longer able to invoke the protection of the law; but I am hopeful that you will permit one who knew her intimately for thirty years to protest publicly in your pages against Mr. Fleming's unjustifiable slur upon her reputation.
Very truly yours,
Iverson L. Harris.
- THE SECRET DOCTRINE by H.P.B.
6 Vol. Adyar edition, per set .......... $13.50
- THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT
This is out of print now ........ $5.50
- THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD
W. Y. Evans-Wentz .............. $5.00
- TRANSCENDENTAL MAGIC, ITS DOCTRINE and RITUAL
Eliphas Levy - ed. A.E. Waite ......... $6.50
- GREAT SYSTEMS OF YOGA
Professor Ernest Wood, reduced to ............ $2.00
- YOGA DICTIONARY
Professor Ernest Wood, reduced to ............ $2.00
- SCIENCE OF CHARACTER and DESTINY
P.G. Larbalestier, President of the Jersey Lodge of the Theosophical Society. This book which correlates astrology, numerology and the Tarot is out of print. .........$1.75
THE BOOK STEWARD, THE BOOK CONCERN,
52 ISABELLA STREET, Toronto 5, Ontario.
ORIGINAL AND UP-TO-DATE THEOSOPHY
We lend freely by mail all the comprehensive literature of the Movement. Catalogue on request. Also to lend, or for sale at 20c each post free, our eight H.P.B. Pamphlets, including early articles from LUCIFER and Letters from the Initiates.
THE H. P. B. LIBRARY, 1385 Tatlow Ave., Norgate Park, North Vancouver, B.C.
BLAVATSKY INSTITUTE PUBLICATIONS
52 Isabella St., Toronto 5, Ontario
- CALGARY LODGE: Address enquiries to Mr. Stanley Elliott, No. 3, 1735 College Lane, Calgary, Alta.
- EDMONTON LODGE: President, Mr. B.J. Whitbread; Secretary, Mrs. Winifred Tiplin, 10248 115th St., Edmonton, Alta.
- HAMILTON LODGE: President, Mr. Reg. M. Stevens; Secretary, Mrs. Clare Lakin, Ancaster, Ont.
- PHOENIX LODGE, HAMILTON: President; Mrs. Kathleen Marks, Secretary, Mrs. Hazel Brook, 162 Glow Ave., Hamilton, Ont.
- KITCHENER LODGE: President, John Oberlerchener, 19 First Ave., Kitchener, Ont.
- MONTREAL LODGE: President, Mr. Fred T.A. Griffiths, 136 Clandeboye Ave., Westmount, P.Q.; Secretary, Mrs. Frank Goossens
- OTTAWA LODGE: Enquiries respecting Theosophical activities in Ottawa should be addressed to: Mrs. D. H. Chambers, 531 Bay Street, Ottawa, Ont.
- ST. THOMAS LODGE: President Benj. T. Garside, Secretary, Mrs. Hazel B, Garside, 71 Hincks St., St. Thomas, Ont.
- TORONTO LODGE: President, Mr. G.I. Kinman, 262 Sheldrake Blvd., Toronto 12 (phone HU 3-5346). CorrespondingSecretary, Miss Laura Gaunt. Lodge Rooms 52 Isabella Street, Toronto 5, Ont.
- VANCOUVER LODGE: President, Mrs. Buchanan; Secretary, M.D. Buchanan, 4690 W. 8th Ave., The Lodge rooms are at 151 1/2 Hastings St. West
- ORPHEUS LODGE, VANCOUVER: President, R.H. Hedley; Secretary, L.C. Hanson; Room 705, Lumbermen's Bldg., 509 Richards St., Vancouver 3, B.C.
- CANYON LODGE, NORTH VANCOUVER: President, Mr. Charles R. Carter; Secretary, Mr. J.B. Jefferson, 245 St. James St. W., 344 East 26th St., N. Vancouver, B.C.
- VICTORIA LODGE: Apply to Mrs. W. Gilmour, 2540 Cotswold Road, Victoria
- WINNIPEG LODGE: President, Mr. Percy H. Stokes, Secretary, Mr. Henry Gadd, Suite 9 B Maple Leaf Apts, 915 Corydon Ave., Winnepeg 9, Man.