Vol. 42, No. 3 TORONTO, JULY-AUGUST, 1961 Price 35 Cents
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THE BODY OF THE RESURRECTION
(The notes which follow contain the substance of a talk given at the Toronto Lodge on the evening of Easter Sunday, the Christian Festival of the Resurrection.)
In all ages, and among all peoples, there has always been some form of belief in an after-death existence. Isolated individuals, here and there, may have come to the conclusion, with the writer of Ecclesiastes (III-19-21) that ". . . the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the beasts is the same, as one dies, so dies the other" but, racially and nationally, the firm conviction of a continuity of consciousness beyond the grave has been universal. Curiously enough, it is often among the more primitive of peoples that the awareness of the continuing proximity of the dead is most intense and real. To the Australian Bushman, and the New Zealand Maori, the Spirits of the Dead are figuratively speaking always just round the corner, and liable to, exact penalty if not treated with proper respect, and if their privacy is intruded upon. It is interesting to note in passing, and particularly in connection with our subject, that it is the spirits that demand this deference; remarkably little respect is shown to the abandoned body.
This conviction of the indestructibility of life can be traced across the world, and through every civilization in history. Ancestor worship not only was a part of the religious rituals of China and Japan in primitive times, but still exists to this day. It is only very recently that Crown Prince Akihito of Japan found it necessary to present himself at the family shrine, suitably robed as the Shinto ritual prescribed, and inform his ancestors of the fact of his marriage, and again of the birth of his son. The ancestors were not only perfectly real, but required to be approached in the proper manner, and with suitable respect.
Every student of Theosophy is familiar with that striking panel in the Egyptian Book of the Dead illustrating the Judgment of the Soul. The heart of the deceased rests in one pan of the scale, a feather in the other, and the God Thoth stands by with his stylus and tablet poised to record the weighing, while the crocodile waits ready to devour the heart if the tally proves adverse. The text indicates that, if the ordeal is successfully passed, the spirit of the deceased will cross the Nile in a boat to the fields of Anroo, where he will reap the corn seven cubits high. Just why seven cubits? This is the first hint of the idea that in some form the deceased will be endowed with a full seven-principled Body of the Resurrection, only be it noted, not to reappear in the physical world, but to function in the Fields of Anroo. There is provision in the text for those spirits who will only reap corn three cubits high or, in other words, will need to return to incarnation to recover the lost astral and physical bodies. Looked at in this light, the parallel between the Egyptian concept and the Buddhist doctrine of Nirvana and Reincarnation is strikingly significant.
The fact that the ancient Egyptians mummified their dead has often been cited as indicating a belief in a physical resurrection, and a desire to preserve the body for that event. Actually, the idea was far more subtle. It is an occult teaching that the Ego cannot reincarnate until the astral shell, which decays pari passu with the physical body, has wholly disintegrated. By preventing that disintegration, the Ego assured itself of a long and pleasant rest in the celestial fields. True, the reaper of the five cubit corn would have to come back some time to incarnate and once more attempt the ordeal of the Weighing of the Soul, but since there was all eternity in which to get that done, there was no immediate hurry.
Homer, in his Odyssey, among the Greeks, and Virgil, among the Romans, who followed him with his Aeneid, both recount the visits of their respective heroes to the nether world of Hades, the abode of the spirits of the dead. This writer only knows the Odyssey at secondhand, but once read Virgil's Sixth Aeneid in the Latin text, and there are points of sufficient significance to be worth a passing note. The Hades of the Aeneid is in no sense the Hell it is frequently and erroneously translated to be. Like the Fields of Anroo, it is reached by crossing a river in a boat, ferried by ". . . horribili squalore Charon," Charon horrible in his filth. But it is, and this is especially worthy of notice, not only the realm of the spirits of the dead, but also of the souls of those not yet born. It is there that Aeneas and his companions meet the shade he addresses with the words "Tu Marcellus eris" - "You will be Marcellus". Marcellus was the son of the Roman Emperor and his Empress who died tragically in the prime of his youth. Yet Aeneas does not address him in the past, but in the future, tense. Marcellus was already in the spirit world, awaiting his birth some centuries later, when Aeneas used that significant phrase on meeting him. We have again the concept of the pre-existence to which we shall come in more detail later in this talk.
Up to now we have only been tracing the concept of the immortality of the soul, as it appears in the literature and beliefs of many peoples through many ages. It is not until the rise of Christianity that we find any trace of a belief in a material reappearance of the physical body, in short, of the doctrine of the Resurrection. Saint Paul himself records that it was a new idea and that, when he preached it, ". . . it was to the Jews an abomination, and, to the Greeks, foolishness". Nevertheless it is the basic foundation stone on which the whole Christian ideology rests and, without which, it collapses. Again, Saint Paul, Fifteenth 1st Corinthians, verse fourteen, Revised Standard Version, - "If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain."
There may still be among our readers those who will remember the novel published in the early ninteen hundreds by an English clergyman under the title When It Was Dark. The theme of the book was that a group of archaeologists uncovered the genuine tomb of Jesus of Nazareth and found therein the actual body. In the ensuing chapters of the story the whole of modern civilization, ethics and morals fell to pieces until further investigation proved the whole thing to be a hoax and the sun began to shine once more. The book created a tremendous sensation at the time, but its chief value is in illustrating the extent to which the doctrine of a physical resurrection of the body is basic in the Christian faith. In the English churchyards it is still the practice to bury the dead with their feet to the East while, on the extreme eastern section of the churchyard, the clergy are buried with their feet to the west so that at the resurrection they will rise facing their congregations as they did in life. One cannot but wonder whether, after all, this is not a survival of ancient British Sun-Worship, embalmed and, to a certain extent, sanctified in the rituals of the new faith, as so many originally pagan ideas from time to time have been.
Let us therefore examine the doctrine of
the resurrection accepting as the only possible starting point that to have any validity at all it must be based on the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as recounted in the four Gospels and further commented upon by the Apostles, in particular, St. Paul. As we hope to show, that line of enquiry is fruitful in a number of quite unexpected results.
The four Evangelists are not entirely consistent in their accounts; it would indeed be surprising if they were. It is a well known psychological fact that any four or more witnesses to a given occurence will vary in details of their evidence. If they do not, a suspicion of either collusion or subsequent editorial revision is at once apparent. It is sufficient for our purpose to reconstruct the narrative, as any jury would do, from a combination of all four.
On the permission of Pilate, the Roman Governor, the body was taken down from the Cross, and since it was the eve of the Sabbath, when no work could be done, it was laid in a new tomb nearby. The tomb was closed with a large stone, which was sealed against possible interference. It is not in the narrative, but the method of sealing is well known to classical students. Leather thongs were placed across the cracks between the stone and the surrounding rock, and their ends plastered with clay. The official signet was then impressed upon the wet clay. All was as secure as suspicious human skill could make it. The body was left alone to rest throughout the ensuing Sabbath.
Early on the morning of the First Day of the week, a band of the women from among His disciples approached the tomb (Luke XXIV-10) among them being Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James, carrying spices to embalm the Body as was customary among the Jews. On arrival, they find the stone rolled away, and the tomb empty.
Luke, at this point, records the vision of "two men in dazzling apparel" (XXIV-4) who announce the Resurrection. John does not but merely states that Mary Magdalene ran and told Peter and John that "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him" (John XX 1 & 2). Peter and John run in all haste to the tomb, and entering in, see the linen cloths laying, and the napkin which had been about His Head rolled in a place by itself. They believe that He has risen.
Now just exactly what did they see that should make them reject the obvious, and accept the improbable? Note that the vision of the two celestial beings does not appear at that point, but only later, and to Mary Magdalene. A quite authorative Gree =k scholar once explained to this writer that the Greek word there translated "lie" conveys actually the meaning of lying collapsed together, as though what they had contained had passed right through them, leaving them still folded, and not in disarray as they would be if they had been pulled off. We get the first hint that there was something unusual about the Body of the Resurrection.
Mary Magdalene, still weeping by the empty tomb, then looks in and sees the vision of the two angels, who ask her why she is weeping. Turning round almost immediately, she sees a Man standing by, who asks her "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek". Supposing him to be the gardener she replies, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him . . ." It is not until he addresses her by name (and every occultist knows of the power of the uttered name) that she recognizes the one person on all earth she should have known instantly. Some strange change had come over the Body of the Resurrection that made it unrecognizable even to those who had known it best in life. * [ * Textual quotations are from the New Standard Version. It may lack the fire and poetic force of King James, but it is more reliable as a translation.]
We come next to the story of the two disciples going to Emmaus (Luke XXIV-13 et seq.) Walking and talking about the recent happenings, they are joined by a Stranger, whom they do not recognize, but assume to be a visitor to Jerusalem (vs 18) who is unaware of the story. So, all through that long summer afternoon, and along seven mile walk, the Stranger "beginning with Moses and all the prophets . . . interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself". Notwithstanding which, they still do not recognize their companion, and it is not until, seated at table with them, He recalls the climactic moment of the Last Supper by the breaking and blessing of bread, that they become aware. And the instant they do, He vanishes out of their sight. The Body of the Resurrection was unrecognizable even to those who had known Him best in life until He wished it to be, and it possessed the power of instant dematerialization at will.
Immediately the two hurry back to Jerusalem, and are admitted to a conclave of the eleven disciples, held, according to the account of John, behind doors that were closed for fear of the Jews. While they are still telling their story The Master is suddenly materialized in the midst of them. The Body of the Resurrection transcended the boundaries of solid matter and could pass through the walls and doors of a locked room.
We come here upon what may appear to be a curious contradiction upsetting the whole theory that has been worked out so far. He calls upon them to handle and see that he has flesh and blood, even as they have and finally, as if to clinch the matter, eats a piece of broiled fish before them. (Luke XXIV-41-42-43). We suggest that the fully illumined Arhat, who had voluntarily assumed the Nirmanakaya state ("Behold, I am with you always to the close of the age" Matthew XXVIII-20) could materialize for himself any form of a body that was necessary for the occasion. The objection is not insurmountable.
It may be interesting, in passing, to note here that when these notes were delivered as a talk in the Lodge, a member of the audience at question time enquired how the Master who was a vegetarian, could possibly eat fish. The lecturer replied that in the first place he was not aware of any passages in the Gospels that indicated that the Master was a vegetarian, and that any way the text quoted stood, and the questioner would have to make the best of it. The greater question as to whether the Body of the Resurrection was or was not a physical one, had manifestly passed the questioner by.
Saint Luke ends his narrative there, stating that the Master led them out as far as Bethany and was "parted from them". The words ". . . and was carried up into Heaven" are relegated to a footnote, as not being found in the oldest texts.
Saint John carries his story further, and recounts first of all the story of Doubting Thomas, so well known as not to need elaborating here. One need only remark, with regard to the visibility and tangibility of the Five Wounds, that the Auric Envelope reflects any lesion in the physical, a fact well known to the few and rare genuine clairvoyants, who can recognize a physical ill in the aura of the subject. The question of tangibility we have dealt with above.
Finally, Saint John recounts the miracle of the Draught of Fishes on the shores of the Sea of Tiberias, and closes his account at that point, without any reference to the Ascension. The opening chapter of the Acts of the Apostles carries Saint Luke's conclusion of his Gospel, and gives a version of the Ascension. The Master was enveloped in a cloud, and carried out of their sight. The Christian ideology is too full of accounts of spontaneous levitation of the initiate to need any further comment. In the days when these narratives were written, and the world was believed to be flat and round like a plate, with the inverted dome of the sky above it, the inescapable conclusion that He had been carried to the celestial realms above that dome would be
inevitable. However much one wishes to accept the idea of scriptural inspiration, one must always remember that these accounts were written by human men, who could not conceive that which was beyond the bounds of their own knowledge and could only speak and write within the symbols they knew.
The Apostle Paul, in that well known fifteenth chapter of first Corinthians (Verse 35 to end) sums up the matter in plain and unmistakable language. "It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body". And again - "I tell you this, brethren, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable". One might read, together with this, Job XIX-26, as now translated - "And after my skin has been destroyed, then without my flesh I shall see God". And finally, once more, Saint Paul - ". . . the dead shall be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed". Whatever the Churches over the centuries have made of the doctrine of the Resurrection, on the evidence of their own documentation, the Body of The Resurrection is not the physical body that is laid in the ground, and which disintegrates into its constituent atoms, never to be seen again in the same form.
Up to now, we have confined ourselves entirely to examining what might in a sense be described as the defendant's own evidence. To bring forward any other philosophy before that was done would be to court the obvious retort - "Ah, but you have not read your Bible". Well, we have read it, with some care, and the verdict is recorded accordingly. Let us now turn, briefly, to the teaching of Eastern Occultism.
The doctrines of Reincarnation and a physical resurrection can in no way be reconciled. If you wish to accept one, you are forced to reject the other. Eastern Occultism may be in many of its phases mystical, and sometimes obscure to the Western mind, but it is never illogical.
"Nay, but as when one sayeth
His worn-out robes away,
And taking new ones,
Sayeth, `These will I wear today!'
So putteth by the spirit
Lightly its garb of flesh,
And passeth to inherit
A residence afresh."
If all the various bodies which the Ego has inhabited, used, and laid aside through the long centuries of its successive incarnations are to be raised alive, and in a physical form at the end of the age, we are faced with an absurdity. And Occultism is never absurd. Even if one decides to accept the teaching of a new creation for each birth and deny the doctrine of pre-existence of a limited number of Egos weaving in and out of incarnation, the situation is even worse. If all the billions of the bodies of men laid aside in the centuries since man first appeared on earth were to be suddenly revivified in physical form at the end of the age, they could not be crammed into the compass of this limited, and already overcrowded world. The idea of the creation of a new heaven and a new earth to contain them then becomes inevitable.
What then is the Body of the Resurrection? There is a clue in the Secret Doctrine, Volume 2, Page 80, of the original First Edition:
". . . the Nirvanee can never return, which is true during the Manavantara he belongs to and erroneous where Eternity is concerned. For it is said in the sacred Slokas - `The Thread of radiance which is imperishable and dissolves only in Nirvana, re-emerges from it in its integrity on the day when the Great Law calls all things back into action.' "
We leave the suggestion that it is the Body of the Re-emergence of the first round of our fifth globe, when we have completed our pilgrimage on this densely material fourth globe of ours. This may sound like pure Theosophic heresy, but it is the vehicle of the Nirvanee. It is customary to regard the Nirvanic state as one of pure
absorption in The All, the "drop that merges in the ocean". But, the millions of little lives that are absorbed into this our physical body, and merged into our wider consciousness, have each their own vehicles, as we sometimes know to our sorrow when they assert their own personalities, and the doctor has to be called in to set them right. We do not proclaim a dogma; we throw out an idea for consideration, that is all. Unless the Nirvanee retains some form of identity, he could not return, and the Sloka plainly says that he does.
In conclusion we would like to record a rather fascinating sidelight on the doctrine of pre-existence, one which the late Roy Mitchell was rather fond of elaborating. Throughout the four Gospels there is considerable emphasis placed on the idea that the Master of Nazareth was the "Son of David" and the Evangelist Matthew is at some pains to provide a Davidic genealogy for Joseph who, if the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is to be accepted, was not his father. It should rather have been the genealogy of the Virgin.
Toy for a moment with the idea that the Master was the son of David in the sense of a reincarnation of David, and a number of significant parallels at once fall into place. John, the Beloved Disciple answers to Jonathon, the beloved of David. Peter, the impetuous Boanerges, becomes Joab, the commander of the King's armies, and Saul, the inveterate enemy and persecutor of David, continues his enmity till his conversion on the road to Damascus. Saint John's story of the woman taken in adultery (John VIII-2-11) has been relegated to an italicized footnote in the New Standard Version, as being of doubtful authenticity, but it will reward us for examination. Twice the Master, without speaking, stoops and writes with His finger on the ground. At last, when the shamefaced accusers had withdrawn one by one and left Him alone with the woman, he sends her away with the words "neither do I condemn you. Go and do not sin again". What was the significance of that writing on the ground, and what did he write? Could it have been a name, Bathsheba?
SOME SYMBOLS IN A GARDEN
By Mollie Griffith
Many of the symbols used in Religion and Philosophy to illustrate the processes of life are taken from Nature, and this we can understand, since Nature lies before us as an open book, revealing her secrets to those who approach her with growing understanding, and a reverence for even the humblest forms of life.
The tree, for instance, sometimes pictured with its roots in the sky and sometimes with its roots in the deep, is a symbol of nature herself, used by all ancient peoples, as is the Lotus flower, symbolizing the cosmos and Man.
The seed of the Lotus contains within itself a perfect miniature of the future flower, showing, as Madame Blavatsky points out, that the spiritual prototypes of all things exist in the immaterial world before becoming materialized on earth.
There are many of these inspiring symbols which have existed for man's enlightenment since the dawn of time, and I think that with even a little knowledge of Theosophy, we can find our own, thus training ourselves to use the key of analogy.
So in case we might ramble too far, this article will be confined to symbols in a garden, an ideal sort of garden, the kind we would like to have if we had the time and the skill and the knowledge to produce it, not one laid down by a landscape gardener, effective as that might be, but one that reflects the loving care and taste of its owner.
Now gardens follow a different pattern
in different countries, and they even differ in one small street in one small town, but as a general rule they contain trees and shrubs and grass and a variety of flowers with sometimes a sunny corner where fruit and vegetables grow. There are many things that add to the beauty of a garden, the contrasts of color and shape, of light and shade, of birds that sing in the trees, and the infinitesimal forms of life that sometimes help and sometimes hinder us in our work.
No garden is complete without variety and the pink tufted daisy in the grass contributes its share of beauty just as surely as the tall and stately lily.
Some flowers, as the Peace rose, are exquisitely colored, but have little scent, while the night scented stock is a simple little flower, but has its moment of glory after dark, as its name proclaims.
It seems then, as we think about these things, that infinite variety is a facet of the One Life in manifestation, with each unit either consciously or unconsciously following the pattern of its own essential nature, already existing in the immaterial world.
Now one of the most beautiful conceptions emphasized by Theosophy, is that of the Oneness of Life, and so it seems to follow that we, who are the man-plants of the universe, must try to incorporate this idea in our lives, and like the flowers and trees and plants be prepared to offer our own shade of coloring to the general harmony, while appreciating that which is the gift of another.
Looking round the world and sometimes sensing very vividly the pain as well as the joy of our fellow beings, we might ask ourselves why mankind must go through such a long and arduous pilgrimage to return at last as the prodigal son to his own home, and perhaps one of the answers might be, that we are learning to take part consciously, and eventually joyously, in the continual work of creation. Within us all, though obscured by ignorance and selfishness and the numbing weight of the body, shines a light, the One Light; and although it is the same in all, the centres through which it shines are different. It is these centres, ourselves really, which we have to prepare and purify, so that when the light shines through them, there is revealed, even down here on the lower planes, another of the infinite expressions of Divinity.
So, just as the same stream of evoiution unifies the giant Sequoia tree, or the small yellow primrose, so does another stream of the same life find expression in all men, whether in the world's opinion they are very great or very humble, and would not such an idea teach us to look within ourselves for our own ideal pattern, rather than copy blindly that of others?
The little clump of crocuses shining in the sun speaks to us of spring, while forget-me-nots remind us of streams and woods.
How sad it would be if flowers and trees could change their own essential beauty, or usefulness, to follow a design not really theirs, and equally true, would it not be a pity if we overlooked our own gift because that of another seemed much more splendid. Now some people seem to have a number of gifts and others not so many, but perhaps in such an idea, we are thinking in terms of separation rather than unity.
Our philosophers, poets, artists and the great of all ages may be, and are the flowers of the race, but their inspiration comes, not only from the inner planes and nature herself, but from the people among whom they are born, for an artist is inspired by his audience, and a Buddha becomes a Buddha out of deep compassion for his fellow men. The more you think about these things the more you realize how all things are linked together in this unity which we call Life.
A question might arise here as to how we are going to find those gifts which are particularly ours, for we cannot work to develop them unconsciously until we know what they are. By gifts I do not mean that each man has been given something which he in turn can pass on, but rather that each of us represents a certain aspect or point of view of the One Life which must be
brought to birth by our own struggles down here on the lower planes.
Many people of course do know where their path lies, but some of us do not, and to find out may take a certain amount of awareness.
Perhaps we could begin by asking ourselves what it is that arouses our deepest feelings, or our greatest admiration to the point of forgetting our personal interests for a greater one.
Do we feel deeply disturbed over cases of injustice, the sadness of old age, the plight of animals, the helplessness of children, the lack of spirituality in the world or perhaps the devastating antagonisms that take place between people and nations?
Does beauty in all its forms appeal to us so much that we instinctively try to remove ugliness in our own natures and the world around us.
Sometimes we say, that a man or a woman is the very personification of a certain quality or a certain idea. Such a man was Gandhi who proved that a battle can be won without resorting to the dubious maxim that the "means justify the end."
Such a man too is Albert Schweitzer showing us by his example that the more advanced a human being becomes the more he realizes his responsibility to his fellow man. We could all of us name scores of people who have exemplified a certain viewpoint or quality, so that it stands as a light in a dark place, thus raising the level of the race.
Coming down however to our own ordinary level, and considering what might be our special bent, or swabhavat as it is called in Theosophy, can we not look once more to nature for a hint, for which of us has not had the experience of seeing among a bunch of weeds in our garden, a small fragile plant reaching for the sun and the air, and having seen it did we not pull up the weeds which were throttling it, loosen the soil around it, and water it, and before very long that which had been a seed dropped by a bird, evolved into a sturdy flowering plant fulfilling its tiny destiny.
So if we are unsure as to where our capacity lies, we can at least make some effort to clear the ground of our own lower natures of the many things, that for all we know, may be obscuring the germ of some particular quality or idea that is endeavoring to express itself through us.
This is where we differ from the plants, for while they are pushed on by nature herself, we have been turned out of the garden of Eden, and have to advance by our own "self devised efforts."
Turning to the Society itself and its beginnings we see that when it was still a thought form in the minds of the Masters, they looked around the world, in search of those who would be capable of bringing it into actual manifestation and they chose two people, varying greatly in their characters and capacities.
One of course was Colonel Olcott who undertook the organization of the Society and the other H.P.B. through whom the teachings were given.
Now the main Object of the Society as all of us know is to form a nucleus of the Brotherhood of Humanity, and this needs the cooperation of a great many people belonging to the various races and religions in the world if it is to be truly representative.
As members of this Society we can all help in this work, in one way or another, but while doing this, should we not try to become aware of our own key note, our own special shade of coloring so that our contribution will really be of ourselves?
One might contribute the gift of steadfastness, or integrity, or it might be a studious mind, or the viewpoint of a mystic; it might be a sense of beauty or organizing ability; it might be a hundred things, but if it contributed to the carrying out of the original idea, as put forth by the Masters then it has a place in the Society.
Beauty has, I think, a place in the Society too and so to end this article I would like to quote from The Garden of the Prophet by Kahlil Gibran where he says:
And on a morning, when the sky was getting pale with dawn, they walked altogether in the Garden and looked into the East and were silent in the presence of the rising sun.
And after a while Almustafa pointed with his hand and he said "The image of the morning sun in a dewdrop is not less than the sun. The reflection of life in your soul is not less than life.
"The dewdrop mirrors the light because it is one with light and you reflect life because you and life are one.
"When darkness is upon you, say `This darkness is dawn not yet born, and though night's travail be full upon me, yet shall dawn be born unto me, even as unto the hills. The dewdrop rounding its sphere in the dusk of the lily is not unlike yourself, gathering your soul in the heart of God.'
"Shall a dewdrop say `But once in a thousand years am I even a dewdrop'; Speak you and answer it saying `know you not that the light of all the years is shining in your circle."'
- Boris de Zirkoff
In these hectic days, when the vast world-scene is filled with dictators, strong men, would-be Caesars, rebels and violent reformers, nuclear dangers, fallouts, mounting tensions, and dire prophetic forecasts, it is easy to imagine that the greatest risks to present-day mankind lie on the outer field of physical struggles, where the most spectacular events are taking place.
Nothing could be more erroneous. As students of the Ancient Wisdom, we should have no difficulty in recognizing the fact that the gravest dangers to the human race lie in the onslaught of psychic delusions which are spreading their pernicious influence from mind to mind all over this globe, but more particularly in the United States.
Compared with the disintegrating effects of psychism, and the deceptive influence of its many and complex forms of manifestation, any and all physical dangers are child's play. Lecture halls, library shelves, and the bulging pouches of mail carriers, are filled with the most varied assortment of psychic claims in spoken and written word, backed by delusions of grandeur, wishful thinking, and blatant assertions concerning man and nature, unsupported by even a modicum of facts.
The ignorant and traditionally gullible public swallows most of it wholesale, and runs from one place to another, in search of more sensation, and, unfortunately, greater confusion.
We were warned of this by H.P.B. herself. In her Message to the 1891 Boston Convention of the T.S., she said:
"Your position as the forerunners of the sixth sub-race of the fifth root-race has its own special perils as well as its special advantages. Psychism, with all its allurements and all its dangers, is necessarily developing among you, and you must beware lest the Psychic outruns the Manasic and Spiritual developments. Psychic capacities held perfectly under control, checked and directed by the Manasic principle, are valuable aids in development. But these capacities running riot, controlling instead of controlled, using instead of being used, lead the Student into the most dangerous delusions and the certainty of moral destruction. Watch, therefore, carefully this development, inevitable in your race and evolution-period, so that it may finally work for good and not for evil . . ."
It is quite possible that, when viewed from the deeper standpoint of Occultism,
even physical struggles among the nations should not be entirely excluded from the domain of the psychic. This is for the simple reason that a great many events in the life of mankind are brought about by an unconscious, automatic response or reaction on the part of the masses to various confused psychic impulses reflected into their kama-manasic principles from the ever-moving waves of the lower astral light; these carry the impressions of former struggles, of long-forgotten events, which the race experienced either centuries ago, or even lives ago. The ever-recurring little "Napoleons" of the present era are aping, mostly unconsciously, other "Napoleons" whose records are still, paradoxically enough, living realities in the world of the astral.
But we are here concerned primarily with directly psychic influences emanting from the lower sub-planes of the astral world and impinging upon the disturbed, ignorant, uncontrolled and deluded lower selves of average men.
One of the most common delusions of the present-day field of psychic activity is the widespread deception practiced by hundreds of "psychists" of every description. By deception they try to impress their gullible followers with the alleged fact that their disclosures and teachings come from some very lofty personage on higher planes of being, from bygone historical characters, through a whole host of Tibetan, Egyptian, Atlantean and Lemurian "guides," down to present-day inhabitants and "rulers" of distant stars or planets of our Solar System. Even our own Theosophical Adept-Brothers have not been left out of this galaxy of deception, and are called upon to furnish various high-sounding prophecies and dire warnings.
The prevalent psychic showmen invariably function under very exclusive names, and support their claims by reference to various exalted institutions, such as "Consortiums," "Imperiums," "Temples of Wisdom," "Supreme. Councils," and the like; all these, no doubt, exist only in their imagination.
The root of the whole matter lies in various types and degrees of psychic mediumship, astral intoxication, overwrought imagination, and the general psychic debility of human beings, whose moral stamina is either very low and uncertain, or practically non-existent. The causes of innumerable psychic phenomena throughout the ages arise in the erratic functioning of the principles of the constitution of men and women, in whom these principles are more or less loosely knitted together. Owing to this condition, their principles function only too often in an erratic and uncontrolled manner. Their constitution lacks the strong, harmonizing and coordinating effect of the Inner Self, the Higher Ego. We seem to have in the world of today a very large, and steadily increasing number of Egos incarnated with this unfortunate tendency to psychic delusions; men and women who are mediums without knowing it; whose passion for the phenomenal makes them easy prey to the deceptions of the astral plane.
This state of affairs, while new to some people, has been known for ages past. A number of spiritual philosophers and great thinkers of ancient days have written on the subject. Among them, Porphyry, the iniated Neo-Platonist of the 3rd century of our era, had the following to say:
"It is with the direct help of these bad demons, that every kind of sorcery is accomplished . . . it is the result of their operations, and men who injure their fellow-creatures by enchantments, usually pay great honors to these bad demons, and especially to their chief. These spirits pass their time in deceiving us, with a great display of cheap prodigies and illusions; their ambition is to be taken for gods, and their leader demands to be recognized as the supreme god." (De abstinentia carnis, II, 41, 42. )
Students of Theosophy should be especially aware of these present-day dangers, and strive to understand by means of study and reflection the nature of the astral world and of its denizens, the relation of this
(Continued on page 69)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I regret to report the death of an old member of the Society, Mr. A.P. Harrop of Gibsons, B.C., who died on June 17 in his eighty-sixth year. Mr. Harrop was an ardent student of H.P.B.'s writings and his deep interest in Theosophy was sustained until the end of his life. Mr. Harrop was well-known in three Canadian Lodges as he originally attended Toronto Lodge, became a member of Hamilton Lodge when he moved to Hamilton, and later, when he made his home in Vancouver, was a constant and active visitor at Vancouver Lodge. A Theosophical funeral service was held in Vancouver on June 19.
Our sincere sympathy is sent to Mrs. Harrop, to his sons and daughters and to other members of the family.
I wish to express my appreciation to the members in appointing me as General Secretary for the coming year. I will endeavor to carry out the duties of the office to the best of my ability, but must point out that the position is one which requires more time and effort being devoted to it than I can give at present. We should be on the watch for someone whose deeper experience and ability, coupled with a willingness to assume the responsibilities of the office, would make him or her a more suitable incumbent. My work in the past few months has been considerably lightened through the kindly and very competent assistance of Mr. Ralph A. Webb, our Treasurer, and I am very grateful to him, and also to Mr. and Mrs. T.G. Davy for their help with the magazine. The May-June issue was produced by them during my absence on vacation. I also acknowledge with gratitude the kindness of Miss R. Welboume in helping with the correspondence and in attending to the mail during my absence, and I am delighted to have this opportunity of acknowledging with many thanks the work performed by Mr. and Mrs. Willard Stewart in addressing and parcelling the magazine for mailing.
New Recording Secretary at Adyar. Mr Jal B. Dorab has been appointed by the President as Recording Secretary as from April 20, 1961. Miss Emma Hunt, who served as Recording Secretary for seven and a half years, has retired to devote her time and energy to the work of the School of the Wisdom, of which she is Director of Studies. The office of the Recording Secretary is a very important one in the administrative work of the Society; our sincere best wishes are sent to Mr. Dorab in his new duties and responsibilities.
The Annual Report for 1960 has been received from Adyar; this contains the President's address to the 85th Convention, portions of which were published in the March-April issue of the magazine; reports from the general Secretaries of the National Societies; the report of the Adyar Library; the Rules and Regulations of the Society and a summary of statistical details. There are now forty National Societies, two Presidential Agencies, and three Federations; the total membership is 33,875, a slight increase over last year.
It is significant that there are no Lodges in Russia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Yugo-Slavia, Poland and Spain, each of which countries some years ago supported National Societies. The Russian and Hungarian Sections were established prior to the 1917 revolution; the other National Sections were formed subsequently, but have since ceased to function. Iceland would appear to have the highest per capita concentration of members, there being 464 members in that small island. In Canada there were 303 members in the National Society and 213 in the Canadian Federation of Lodges. India is the largest Section with 383 Lodges and 7,065 members, the United States of America being next with 144 Lodges and 4,167 members.
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
ACTING GENERAL SECRETARY
D.W. Barr, 54 Isabella St., Toronto 5, 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 M. Hindsley, 52 Isabella St., Toronto, Ont.
George I. Kinman, 262 Sheldrake Blvd., Toronto 12, Ont.
Mrs. C.P. Lakin, S.S. No. 2, 102 Floresta Court, Ancaster, Ont.
Washington E. Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C.
Emory P. Wood, 9360 86th St., Edmonton, Alta.
EDITORIAL BOARD, CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
All Letters to the Editor, Articles and Reports for Publication should be sent to The Editor, 52 Isabella St., Toronto 5,
Editor: Dudley W. Barr
Associate Editors: Mr. & Mrs. T.G. Davy
Letters intended for publication should be restricted to not more than five hundred words
Printed by the Beamsville Express, Beamsville, Ont.
There are four Societies in Africa with a total membership of 1,765.
Although the actual number of members is by no means a criterion of the influence of Theosophical thought in the world, it is a bit discouraging - if we permit ourselves the luxury of ever being discouraged - to face the fact that despite the efforts of hundreds of ardent and devoted workers in over forty countries, and the numerous magazines, booklets and pamphlets which are issued each year, our membership is but an infinitesimal drop in the teeming ocean of the earth's population. The membership has remained fairly constant for a number of years; the "population explosion" has not produced any corresponding "explosion" in membership. That there is a widespread and growing interest in Theo-sophical ideas is undeniable - karma, reincarnation, the divinity of man and other Theosophical concepts are now well-known and widely accepted. Have we failed in not attracting those interested to membership in the Society - and if we have failed, wherein has the failure been?
One interesting feature of the Annual Report is the report of the Adyar Library which was presented by Mrs. Seetha Neelakatan, the Librarian. The Government of Indian has recognized the importance to scholars and research institutes of the manuscripts in the Library, and has given a grant for the publishing of the remaining volumes of the Descriptive Catalogues of these manuscripts; the Government has also rendered aid to the Library in publishing four important works.
A new library building is being constructed and funds are needed for this. The "Add-a-Brick" scheme which was launched to help with this very worthwhile objective, gives to all members an opportunity to share in the construction by contributing a brick or bricks, a wall or a room, each according to his or her capacity. The Library which was founded in 1886 by Colonel H. S . Olcott will celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary this year. During its seventy-five years the Library has become a very important centre and the recognized repository of many ancient and irreplaceable works. Many contributions of books were made to the Library during the past year, including eighty-seven Russian classics, translated into English, which were donated by the U.S.S.R. Embassy at Delhi.
In his opening remarks to the 38th South Indian Conference held at Adyar the President, Mr. Sri Ram said, "Our understanding of Theosophy constantly changes as we grow and mature. In fact, I would say that the longer one is in the Theosophical movement, the more difficult it is to say what Theosophy is because, first of all, it is so subtle; secondly, it is profound; and thirdly, it is all-embracing and comprehensive."
The ballots in the election of the General Executive were counted on Saturday, June 17 under the supervision of the Acting General Secretary. The scrutineers were Mr. Ralph A. Webb and Mr. T.G. Davy, both of Toronto, and Mr. Frank Thompson of Hamilton Lodge. Mr. Kinman was present and after his election was assured, rendered much assistance to the scrutineers through his previous experiences in the proportional representation system of voting. The total number of ballots returned was 197, but one was spoiled. The quota of votes required to elect each candidate was determined to be 25.
On the counts of the first choice candidates, Miss Hindsley, Mr. Kinman and Dr. Wilks were elected by receiving more than 25 votes, thus leaving surpluses to be distributed. On the second count the Kinman surplus of 35 votes was credited to the second choice candidate as shown on these ballots (or to the third or fourth choice if the second choice candidate had already received sufficient votes to be elected). This resulted in Mr. Hale receiving more than the quota and he was declared elected. The distribution of the second highest number of surplus votes, Miss Hindsley's, resulted in Mr. Bunting receiving more than the quota and he too was elected. On the fourth count the distribution of Dr. Wilks' surplus brought about the election of Mr. Wood. On the fifth, sixth and seventh counts of the surpluses of Mr. Hale, Mr. Bunting and Mr. Wood did not elect another candidate. At this stage six members had been elected and the final choice lay between Mrs. Lakin and Mr. Knowles. The distribution of the second choice votes on Mr. Steven's ballots resulted in the election of Mrs. Lakin.
This was the first experience of Mr. Davy and Mr. Thompson in counting votes under the proportional representation system and they both agreed that the system, although somewhat complicated, was eminently fair to the candidates and to the voters.
The new Executive will be composed of Mr. C. E. Bunting, Mr. C. M. Hale, Miss M. Hindsley, Mr. G. I. Kinman, Mrs. C.P. Lakin, Dr. W. E. Wilks and Mr. E. P. Wood. The General Secretary for the coming year, Dudley W. Barr, was elected by
"When the question is asked `where were we before we were born?' we have a definite answer in the system of slow development by incarnation, with long intervals of spirit rest between, while otherwise we have no answer, though we must admit that it is inconceivable that we have been born in time for eternity. Existence afterwards seems to postulate existence before. As to the natural question, `Why, then, do we not remember such existences?' we may point out that such remembrance would enormously complicate our present life, and that such existences may well form a cycle which is all clear to us when we come to the end of it, when perhaps we may see a whole rosary of lives threaded upon one personality. The convergence of so many lines of theosophic and Eastern thought upon this one conclusion, and the explanation which it affords in the supplementary doctrine of Karma of the apparent injustice of any single life, are arguments in its favor, and so perhaps are those vague recognitions and memories which are occasionally too definite to be easily explained as atavistic impressions."
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (A History of Spiritualism)
[[This table cannot be reproduced in its entirety. -dig. ed.]]
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN CANADA
Total votes ....... 197
Spoiled ballot ........ 1
Votes to be counted ..........196
MEMBERS TO BE ELECTED - 7
QUOTA - 25
Names of Candidates 1st Count
HINDSLEY, MISS ..............40
LAKIN, MRS. ................10
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Editor, The Canadian Theosophist
Re: Change of timing of appearance of Canadian Theosophist Dear Sir:
We notice on page 35 of the May-June 1961 issue of above paper that Mr. Kinman suggested at the last Executive Meeting that it should be published monthly instead of the present bi-monthly timing of appearances. This I suggest would be very unwise. The truth is the paper, in its present abstract form might be better printed quarterly. And a monthly publication designed to deal with Elementary Theosophy introduced. If the funds will not stand the pace, and reserves not put to use, then the Canadian Theosophist might come out once a year. Or not at all. It serves only those advanced students whose reasonings and writings are intelligible to them. And any attempt to pass it on to those whose interest is but a little aroused does not get results. They are distracted. This is no attempt to question the honesty and good purposes of those who constitute your board or their sincerity. Only to question their wisdom.
If a monthly paper was introduced seeking to review the modern news, and public events, in the light of the dual teaching of Karma and Reincarnation, and in simple words, I am of the opinion you would get an expanding circulation. And perhaps serve to rekindle into life the dead embers of Theosophy in Canada.
Frederick E. Tyler F.T.S.
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist
In the June 9th Number of Time Magazine, there is the review of a previously banned book, which has been kept away from the public for twenty-six years due to its delineation of all forms of immorality.
But what is calculated to infuriate any Theosophist is the inclusion in this book of Madam Blavatsky's name. Also, any other fair-minded member of the public would be appalled to find any reference to her in Mr. Miller's disgusting work, Tropic of Cancer.
However, he has the insolence to discuss her therein. Time's reviewer states:
"Miller somehow creates the impression of mixing up Christ and Krishnamurti, Huysman and Madam Blavatsky."
Anyone who has read even a few of her books, is well aware that Madam Blavatsky constantly advocated the highest morality as the only means of preventing this civilization from going the way Rome went. For this writer on immorality to mix her up with his descriptions of sexual sins of all kinds is the height of folly as well as utter ignorance.
E. R. Harrison, LLB
THE THREE TRUTHS
There are three truths which are absolute, and which cannot be lost, yet remain silent for lack of speech.
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficient, is not heard or seen or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself, the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths, which are as great, as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them.
- Idyll of the White Lotus
The following article is republished from the 10th Number of Series 2 of Ernest Wood's Question and Answer Bulletin. The Bulletin, from the pen of this renowned scholar and the author of many books on Theosophical subjects, contains questions from enquirers and Professor Wood's very full and comprehensive answers, based upon his studies and experiences in over fifty years in the Theosophical movement. In addition to the fruits of his accumulated knowledge and wisdom, there is also to be found in the answers new methods of approaching the subject and novel means of presentation which make of the Question and Answer Bulletin a publication of much intrest and value to students.
The subscription rate is $2.00 per Series and this would be a good time to subscribe as the next Series of six numbers will begin in September. A note from Mrs. Wood in the March-May, issue states, "As we wish to have all the covers for the whole series done in advance and placed ready in stock, we will consider it a kindness if those who can conveniently do so will send their subscriptions even now." The address is 1206 Pine Chase, Houston 24, Texas.
Q. 87. (M.S., Boston, Mass.) What is your view on the philosophy called theosophy?
A. My reading of its mainline literature leads to the following picture: As to God. There has to be a root-reality which can be self-creative, self-existent, self-moving. Matter and Mind are not self-productive, but dependent, and so "God" must be beyond these. Matter and mind are subject to laws, under which they exist and operate, and so God must be ever-present Law.
God did not create the universe, give it independence, and leave it to itself. He emanated life and form, the form coming progressively through the life.
(2) As to Man. The life, as Monads, or "sparks of the one fire," grow by exercising the 'three principles governing God's
emanation - (1) unity, seen in man as will, (2) harmony, seen in man as love, and (3) variety, seen in man in the creative intellect. In the relation of man to the external world (in incarnation) he has also (1) lower mind, for storing knowledge, (2) desire, for keeping him active in the world, and (3) a physical body, for active operation upon it. The last is also considered triple, (1) dense body; with its organs of perception and action, (2) vitality, and (3) etheric double, a subtle basis of the dense body, responsible for directing its functions.
(3) As to Nature. Below man in the scale of progression are (1) animals, which are developed up to lower mind, (2) plants, which are developed up to desire, (3) minerals, which are developed up to material stability. Below the minerals in turn are three grades of "elemental life", spoken of as "on the downward arc" because they have not yet attained stability. They inhabit human and other emanations of lower mind, desire and bodily impulses, respectively; and, being thus less material than the mineral; are spoken of as "on the downward arc." For them the acquisition of a material body would be an achievement, just as the progression from the mineral to the plant "'kingdom" is an advance.
The attainment of the mineral state is an expression of the will in form (stability), which the plant extends to feeling in form (reaching out and about), and the animal extends to thought in form (recognition of objects, which is incipient memory). In man, the next "kingdom" beyond form or "within."
(4) As to mind. Just as there is an alternation of waking activity and sleeping activity in man's body, so there is an alternation of observing and thinking in his mind. The observing is done through his animal nature, or "lower mind", and the thinking is done by comparing and classifying the observed data in his higher or
human mind; in which he can hold the objects in juxtaposition in his "imagination" - or, better, imaging - and can then compare them, classify them, produce generalizations, and so make inferences about them. He can also combine them, and recombine them in his mind's eye in various ways, which is also called thinking. From this arises the creativeness of the "higher mental" or human mind, as distinguished from the hit and miss or trial and error method of the lower or animal mind. It is in this way that man in nature is superior to nature.
Theosophists have been in the habit of using words derived from the Sanskrit language as technical terms to signify the functions of life as seen in the human form - namely, "prana" for the bodily functions, "kama" for the desire or feeling nature, and "manas" for the mental nature - lower manas for perception and higher manas for inference. Another term which distinguishes the two functions of mind (perceiving or observing, and reflecting or inferring) is "rupa" (form), thus lower manas is "rupa" manas and the higher manas is "arupa" (formless) manas.
(5) As to immorality. When the body is dead the mind still exists with its collection of memories, but the process of observing or perceiving has ceased, and so it is engaged only in thinking further about its collected experiences. This process could be called ruminating rather than thinking, and is often seen in the aged when they are not attending to their environment. The man is not then troubled with anxieties about body and environment, and so is described as in a state of happiness (sukhavati or devachan). In this state his mental ability still grows by the use or exercise which it is having. When the higher mind has exhausted its collection of material - has done all this ruminating upon its memories - the need for more experience is felt and there is a return to birth in a new body.
In that new body all the functions, of prana, kama and lower manas are again experienced, and are in general carried forward to better form and functioning. The consciousness of the man is also improving in its ability to respond to environment. In the course of bodily life there are stages in which the bodily, emotional and mental functions take predominance. In the first period (childhood) bodily interests prevail and in each life the senses become more perfect than before; in the second period (family life) emotional interests prevail; in the third period mental interests or considerations govern; and in the fourth period there is a synthesis such that the mind in considering things escapes from the bias of the physical, emotional and mental specializations and can see and deal with experience in a state of mind in which all three have equal consideration. Such would be the standard or "normal" course of a lifetime, but it is in every case subject to imperfections or aberrations.
(6) As to evolution. There is an individual unfoldment or development in all the stages of life. Childhood is not a "preparatory period", but is that portion of life in which the body with its senses is improved, and the man increases his capacity to respond to his environment. If this first stage is badly treated, so that childhood impulses to physical curiosity and activity are repressed, and strong emotional or mental situations and activity are forced prematurely upon the child, there is likelihood of "deficient contact" with the world in later life.
Evolution is thus seen not as an automatic progress, but as the result of an impulse to live, or, an innate hunger for "more life" or "more consciousness of being", leading to efforts of body and emotion and mind.
The material side of an individual's life, his environment, is envisaged as in causal relation to his actions. This is referred to as "the law of karma",which in brief may be stated as: "What you make you have, neither more nor less" and "What you do to others will be done to you." The man will reap as he sows, and is now reaping as he has sown. Sometimes this is called
the law of ethical causation, the "law which moves to righteousness, which none at last can turn aside or stay." (The Light of Asia, Book Eight.)
Ethical sentiments are thus not regarded as mere good policy in certain relationships and situations, but are considered as deep needs of life, for its advancement and fulfillment. The logic of this is seen in the fact that the sentiment of love (in all its forms, from goodwill to close affection) can be seen to relate man more and more to the varied objects of the world. Since he gets more education from the life around him than from the things around him, it is good policy also to trust and cherish the impulses to love, both kindness and goodness. The law of karma reacts to a man's insensitiveness to life (i.e. selfishness) in such a manner as to make him more aware of what others are feeling, or more aware of the life around him, and so is fundamentally educative, not punitive.
(7) As to the goal of life. The aim of life is not "upward and onward forever" - a continuation of the same kind of thing endlessly. The course of evolution is seen as a series of steps, not an inclined plane. Physical pleasure and pain are seen to lead to emotional states of liking and disliking, and once these have arisen the emotions govern the actions. Next, troubles arising from the (unintelligent) following of likes and dislikes (i.e., emotions) lead to the arising of mental judgment; which then begins to govern. Further on, the unsatisfactoriness of merely mental interests leads to more attention to ethical pleasures, until they come to provide the governing motive and the mentality follows lines of knowledge required by life. For this the Sanskrit word "buddhi" has been much used. Buddhi is related to love, inasmuch as it is primarily interested in life, and in knowledge which is of value to life - not merely knowledge in itself, which is endless and pointless.
The ethical life still has its pains arising from its very nature, which depends on duality or separateness. The man, now finding that even though he loves he can never love enough. The person he loves he still cannot "understand", try as he will. He cannot get right inside. These pains of love, however, give rise to yearning which has its fulfillment in the awakening of a new experience, indescribable in terms of love or of mentality, just as those are unknown to mere desire or mere bodily sensation. Indescribable, it has been called, and yet exceptional men have spoken of it, and of the effect of it in their lives - how it illumines the mind, and irradiates the life with incredible joy. This experience has been connected with the idea of union with God, and with that of freedom from all constraint - release or liberation. It comes unexpectedly, and briefly at first, but always leaves a permanent memory, so that the thought of the experience always revives its effects, though it cannot revive the experience itself. Among those effects there is release from fear.
(8) As to history. Although evolution is entirely individual, men get born together into groups or races according to their impulses and their karma. Those with strong impulses for the development in themselves of more knowledge and learning - to take one example - tend to get together and to become the nucleus for a race to which karma brings also a great number of learners. Thus the good-neighbor spirit of America at present is coming to the fore (however blunderingly and egotistically, sometimes) and shows a general buddhic awakening, succeeding to the period of great mental interest and activity especially seen in the Germanic nations. In broad and general outlines the leading nations have followed the course of physical, emotional and mental zeitgeist; and when the present leaders have gone on the present learners have become the nucleus of new races repeating the process, with modifications. Then the learners become leaders, and the leaders become learners and history will thus repeat itself, again and again.
(9) As to government. In the classification of beings, and their groupings together,
the term hierarchies has been introduced. In some cases this has lead to misunderstandings, as implying the rule of the lower or inferior by the higher or superior. But the plant kingdom does not govern the mineral kingdom, the animal kingdom does not govern the plant, nor does the human govern the animal. In the same way, those who have gone beyond man, into liberation, do not govern the human kingdom. The association of one kingdom with another does, however, provide mutual benefit, each giving what it has, as indeed all beings of all grades depend upon one another, or nourish one another. The human teacher or guru, nearing his goal, does not govern his pupils or disciples, though he is as a finger pointing the way, which however is different for all except in broad outline, a pathless territory, a field of life in which the terrain is all path, and in which individual endeavor alone moves on.
(10) As to name. This outlook has been named Theosophy but, after all, it is also good Hinduism, good Buddhism, good Christianity and good sense, well systematized. Man must trust in reason and in love, and any doctrine in which these are violated he must reject. He must be true to himself - to his best self, that is, truth and love. Knowledge and cooperation have brought him to where he is and he must now act accordingly to the best he can now think and do. And though he may err in fact, he cannot err in holding to a combination of reason and love - reason with regard to things and processes; love with regard to life - and acting decisively thereon. One must, of course, distinguish between theosophy and phychic research, and not mix them under one name.
CLERGYMEN IN THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT
By The Rev. Stephan A. Hoeller, D.D.
In a letter written to the editor of The Federation Quarterly of Canada and reprinted in The Canadian Theosophist (Vol. 41, pp: 110-113) Dr. W.E. Wilks states that "the Inspirers of the Theosophical Movement . . . and H.P.B. had made very clear that one of the chief aims (of the Movement) was to oppose sacerdotalism and organized religion in all its forms as being one of the greatest causes of human misery." Since this point of view is rather typical and representative of the thinking which underlies much of the objections against the reunification of the various Theosophical groups it is well worth musing over. Another event which prompts the present writer to share his reflections with his fellow Theosophists is the recent election to a high office in the Theosophical Society in America of a gentleman who for a number of years functioned in the Liberal Catholic Church as a priest and, therefore, is occasionally subjected to adverse criticism by persons who share Dr. Wilks' views regarding religions and churches.
Have the founders of this Movement really condemned once and for all religion per se, and all organized bodies of a religious nature, and if so are present-day Theosophists obilged to abide by this alleged dictum? Are present and past affiliations with religious bodies (in either clerical or lay capacity) on the part of Theosophists to be deplored, if not openly out-lawed? And finally, are Theosophists who have demonstrated their dedication to the Theosophical Cause over a period of years to be declared ineligible to hold any prominent office in the Theosophical Society, merely because they have served (or are serving) Humanity in a Church as well as in a Theosophical Lodge?
In regard to the first question we must admit that the Mahatma Letters and some
of the writings of H.P.B. contain harsh denunciations of organized religion. When the Great Ones decided to launch through the agency of their pupils, H.P. Blavatsky and H.S. Olcott (both of whom were accepted disciples) the new movement they were confronted by two formidable opponents: Scientific Materialism and Pseudo-Christian Godism. In the much quoted (and misquoted) Letter No. 10 K.H. makes it quite clear that his derogatory statements about religion refer primarily to the theistic religions; the chief reason for this being their illusory and harmful concepts of the Deity. Similarly the Mahatmas and their pupils have pointed out that they were not at all antagonistic to science as such, although they condemned the materialism of the science of their day. It is evident then that the Masters were not opposed to religion and science but only to the prevailing orientation of the majority of theologians and scientists in the Western World.
The answer to the second question is implicit in the history of The Theosophical Society. One of the two original Vice-Presidents of The Theosophical Society was a clergyman (The Rev. Dr. S. Pancoast) and Christian, Hindu and Buddhist clergy were ever since prominently associated with the cause of the Movement. Almost immediately after its organization the new Society merged with a Hindu religious reform organization, called the Arya Samaj; the leader of which, Swami (in English we would say "Reverend") Dayanand Saraswati was by H.P.B.'s own admission a pupil of the Mahatmas. Later Col. Olcott took a very active part in the revival of Buddhism in Ceylon and of Zoroastrianism in India. In these efforts he was prominently associated with the Buddhist and Parsi religious hierarchy and clergy, members of which joined the Theosophical Society by the hundreds. As early as 1877 the leading Buddhist High Priest of Ceylon, Mohottiwatte Gunananda joined the Society and he was followed by Mahathera Sumangala and many others, including Col. Olcott's close friend, Anagarika Dharmapala, who subsequently founded the Maha Boddhi Society and inaugurated a great Buddhist revival in India itself. Does all this sound as if H.P.B. and her associates "opposed organized religion in all its forms?"
Yes, but what about the Christian religion? The founders resolved in 1875 to "oppose the materialism of science and every form of dogmatic theology, especially the Christian," but they never intended to show the slightest bias against a Christianity free from dogmatic theology. Indeed in her Personal Memoirs H.P.B. stated emphatically that she considered the faith of the Orthodox Church (of Russia and the East) as superior even to Buddhism, the reason obviously being that the Eastern Church never allowed itself to become contaminated by the Neo-Aristotelian dogmatic theology which especially since Thomas Aquinas dominated the Western Church. H.P.B. approved of Christianity as the body of teachings given by its Founder and she sympathized with all movements, churches, societies which - even though imperfectly - stood for the restoration of the true, primitive faith of Christ and of the early Gnostic Fathers. Anyone who denies this is either ignorant of or willfully suppresses, the known facts of history, and incidentally, does H.P.B. a grave personal injustice. Let the Theosophists beware, for they may have to answer before the judgment seat of Karma for attempting to show their Founder to be an athiest, antichristian fanatic of the Soviet variety!
The various Theosophical Societies and Lodges do not exist in competition with the churches, synagogues, mosques and temples of their lands and communities. The teachings offered in our Lodges may supplement those of the religions but they are not offered in order to extirpate the religious faiths of the world. This is a secular movement, but not necessarily a secularist movement. Holding an office in a church, temple or synagogue should not bestow privileges in the Theosophical Movement, but it ought not to inflict penalties either. If a good and talented member and work-
er within the Movement is lawfully nominated and elected to some office he should not be subjected to malicious gossip by some of his fellow members just because he happens to say mass or ascend the pulpit on Sunday morning. To say that a brother Theosophist is ineligible to hold office because of his church is nothing short of religious persecution. If we wish to act as a nucleus of a brotherhood without distinction of creed we must banish such thoughts from our minds once and for all.
There is, of course, another side to the problem. It would seem, however, that the few justified objections to the activities of some clergymen in our Movement are of a practical and not of a theoretical nature. There was a time when the Liberal Catholic Church claimed a virtual monopoly over the membership of the Society in matters of church affiliation. Some leaders encouraged the idea that in order to be a "good" member one had to join the Liberal Catholic Church and preferably Co-Masonry and the Order of the Star in the East as well. However, those days are gone and it would be unrealistic to generalize and condemn now because of past mistakes on the part of persons long dead. It would seem right to say that we need more and not less sincere church people, clergymen, laymen, Sunday school teachers, etc. in our Movement, for such persons are in a uniquely favorable position to take the truths of Theosophy, and in the words of the Master Serapis: "Feed them to the hungry."
In conclusion, it may be of some profit to state that the present writer is not a Liberal Catholic Priest but a professional clergyman of another denomination. It has always been his conviction that Theosophy and Christianity (or any other religion) are not incompatible and he is attempting to prove this both from the pulpit and from the Lodge lecture platform. Like his other fellow clergymen - theosophists he does not feel ashamed because of this, and in his more optimistic moments he would like to believe that there is a place for him and his fellows in the Theosophical Movement. And he also thinks that H.P.B., Col. Olcott and their friends would approve. Don't you?
PSYCHIC SHOWMANSHIP (Continued from page 58)
world to ours, and the distinction, basic and fundamental in every respect, which exists between that which is psychic and that which is manasic or spiritual. The two are as far apart from each other as is moonlight from sunlight, and are distinctly connected with Lunar and Solar energies, respectively.
James, the Apostle of the Christians, wrote on this subject centuries ago in his Epistle (iii, 15), wherein he says: "This wisdom cometh not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish"; though translated in these words, the original Greek terms are psychike and daimoniodes, meaning psychic and demon-like. Now the word demon or daimon referred in ancient days to certain denizens of the astral world, and had of course none of its later Christian connotations. It had to do with various types of elementals as well as elementaries, regarding which very little has yet been given out in our Theosophical teachings because of the extreme danger of giving too much information to minds that are not ready for it. It would also be erroneous to jump to the conclusion that every "daimon" is evil; there is a whole realm of deep occult teachings behind this word.
There exists no absolute partition or barrier between any of the contiguous planes of Nature, least of all between what we call the physical and what we term the astral planes. They blend together by means of almost imperceptible grades of substances and energies, and this intermediate field between the two, and overlapping the two, is made up of the innumerable electromagnetic energies, some known to science and some totally unknown as yet, which range from the ethereal-physical to the astral-material, as it were. It is these various gradations of magnetic and quasi-magnetic
energies and substances which are actually the means of intercommunication between the physical and the astral.
Now there are eras in the history of man, eras recurring cyclically, when these intervening grades of magnetic substance between the physical and the astral grow thin and partially vanish for the time being. At such times there occur worldwide "outbreaks" of psycho-astral epidemics, phenomenal and otherwise. The astral invades the physical world more than is ordinarily the case, and a period of extreme psychic danger sets in. We are today in one of these cycles. It would be very difficult to say, with our relative lack of definite knowledge, just exactly how long this state of affairs will prevail.
The modern Theosophical Movement was started precisely with a view to stemming the onrushing wave of psychic delusions, which, associated as it is with rampant materialism, simply compounds the dangers of both in one grave peril. It is imperative to understand that all psychic matters are even more material than the physical ones, and this in spite of the fact that they cannot be perceived by our grossly physical senses. The psychic is essential kamic, and kama, as a principle or energy, is the fourth link of a sevenfold chain; by picturing to oneself the sevenfold constitution of any hierarchy, with its descending and ascending arcs, it becomes obvious that the kamic or psychic finds itself at the bottom-most point of this double arc, in the most material part of the total curve.
The many vicissitudes of our own Movement since the turn of the century have demonstrated beyond any possible doubt the subtle danger of psychic excursions, and the ease with which students can fall prey to the various types of delusions, mental and emotional, with which the lower sub-planes of the astral world abound. Side by side with a cosmic philosophy of life, and in total contradiction to every warning voiced by the Founders of this Movement, giant weeds have been allowed to grow and prosper for many years, entangling the unwary seeker in their web of deceptive beauty. Disregarding the foremost principles of the Movement, various sideshows have been permitted to thrive within its ranks, threatening to undermine the whole structure by means of subtle ecclesiastical claims, fantastic improvisations on psychic themes, and dogmatic assertions sprung from delusions of grandeur and ignorance of the true nature of the Esoteric Philosophy. It will take many years yet, and concerted effort on the part of many people, to cleanse the organized Movement from this psychic blight.
The whole keynote of our Movement, its bearing, its contents and its objectives, are a call to arouse in men their potential spirituality, and to rise in strength above the material and the psychic. Our teachings are an attempt to counteract the psychic outbreak of the age by means of a deep philosophy which gives the explanation of the causes of things; which points out the way where true certainty can be found; which indicates the path which leads to the development of the grand, noble and lofty spiritual forces and energies which reside at the core of man's Inmost Self.
As pointed out so graphically by Dr. G. de Purucker in one of his works (The Esoteric Tradition, p. 891)
"Psychism in all its forms . . . . is something that unfortunately appeals directly to the credulous, the gullible, the unwise, and the foolish; and the earnest Theosophist should never hesitate openly to proclaim that one of the main purposes in founding the modern Theosophical Movement was to do what could be done to stem the then impending inrushing tide or flow of psychism in its various forms. Where psychism is, Spirituality usually flies out at the window - because evicted by man's folly; where Spirituality is allowed to enlighten the mind and refine the heart by its benign and inspiring influence, the psychical in all its forms shrivels into the bundle of illusions which it actually is."
SAVIOURS AND REDEEMERS
"Since there is hope for man only in man, And none hath sought for this as I will seek, Who cast away my world to save my world."
In the poetic version of the life of Buddha, The Light of Asia by Sir Edwin Arnold, the above lines are the final words of the young Prince Siddartha when he is taking leave of his servant Channa.
"There is hope for man only in man."
If this doctrine were widely known among men, many of mankind's inner and outer problems could be solved. An individual who accepts this doctrine of self-responsibility and self-reliance, would be encouraged to "face up" to the difficulties which he or she encounters and would move forward to meet them. He or she would be less inclined to draw down the iron curtain of callousness, or to seek retreat in some ivory tower, or to evade responsibility by laying the blame for the situation upon some outside power - God, luck, chance - or upon some other individual. "Within yourselves deliverance must be sought" the Buddha taught, and ultimately each individual is thrown back upon himself, whether it is in seeking the Great Deliverance which the Buddha accomplished, or in finding a way through the daily problems which arise in every person's life. We may be assured that if there are no problems in our lives, we are either too dull to see them, or so far advanced that there are no longer any problems for us - which is unlikely. The way for one individual might mean the patient, unswerving acceptance of a set of conditions which another individual would find utterly intolerable, and which he would meet with direct, corrective action. The decision lies with each individual, and all well-meant advice which starts off with "Well, if I were you . . ." might be largely written off - if you were I, you would do exactly as I will do.
Mankind must become its own Saviour and Redeemer and once we acknowledge this we cease to seek for salvation and redemption in any being outside ourselves. True, there have come into the world from time to time, many Great Ones who are called Mediators, Redeemers, Saviours, and unto them all reverence and respect is due for the great task they have accomplished. Our devotion is aroused by the example of their compassion and their lives of love and service to mankind. In Whitman's phrase they "convince by their presence" and by their lives and words our forgotten memories of divinity are restored. Such Ones are "Redeemers" in this sense, that they recall to mankind the true nature of man's inner being and show forth in their own lives the spiritual possibilities latent within every human soul.
These teachers are Men, but they are Men who have surpassed our present stage of evolution. Jesus was termed "the captain of our salvation, made perfect through suffering." His glory was not that he came down from heaven, perfect, immaculate and all-wise, but that He, a man like you and I, won his way to Godhood. He could say "I and the Father am one" because the divinity of His being was at one with the One Divine Life. He could teach "Be ye therefore perfect" because He, a man, had achieved to perfection and knew that to achieve that was within the power of all men. The Buddha likewise was once a man who mastered problems and achieved realization by virtue of the latent powers within his own soul. The Masters said, "We are men like yourselves."
What men have done, men can do. The Great Ones are exemplars of man's possibilities, but each man must perform his own redemptive work. "Therefore, be ye lamps unto yourselves . . . Look not for a refuge to anyone besides yourself."
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
- ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPEL by H. P. Blavatsky.
- THE EVIDENCE OF IMMORTALITY by Dr. Jerome A. Anderson.
- MODERN THEOSOPHY by Claude Falls Wright.
- THE BHAGAVAD GITA, A Conflation by Albert E.S. Smythe.
These four books are cloth bound, price $1 each.
- THE EXILE OF THE SOUL by Professor Roy Mitchell has been published in book form. Attractively bound in yellow cover stock. This sells at the price of $1.00.
- THROUGH TEMPLE DOORS - Studies in Occult Masonry, by Roy Mitchell, an occult interpretation of Masonic Symbolism.
- THEOSOPHY IN ACTION, by Roy Mitchell, a re-examination of Theosophical ideas, and their practical application in the work.
- THEOSOPHIC STUDY, by Roy Mitchell, a book of practical guidance in methnods of study.
The above four books are attractively bound; paperbound $1.00, cloth, $1.50.
- COURSE IN PUBLIC SPEAKING, By Roy Mitchell. Especially written for Theosophical students, $3.00.
- THEOSOPHY, AN ATTITUDE TOWARD LIFE, by Dudley Barr. 50c.
- THE WISDOM OF CONFUCIUS by Iverson Harris. 25c
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